Breaking his silence on the debate over the Dadri lynching incident a day after President Pranab Mukherjee underlined that diversity, tolerance and plurality are core values that have kept India together and must never wither away, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there cannot be a bigger guiding principle, thought and direction than the message from the President.
Addressing a well-attended BJP rally in Nawada Thursday, Modi said: “People are making… ulte-seedhe byaan for rajneeti (all kinds of statements are being made for the sake of politics). Don’t listen to them. Even if Narendra Modi says something like that, don’t listen. Desh ko ek rehna hai. Ekta, shanti, sadbhavna, yahi Bharat ko aage le jayegi (The country has to remain one. There has to be unity, peace and harmony. Only these can take Bharat forward).”
“We all have to follow the path (shown by the President), only then can we have any standing in the world,” the Prime Minister said, referring to the President as Pramukh Mukhia of the country.
Recalling the October 27, 2013 rally he addressed at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna where bombs went off, Modi said: “I saw sons of Bihar being killed. The land was stained with blood. We didn’t lose patience, we made every possible effort to ensure peace. We knew a game of death was being played but we did not play politics.” He said even at that rally, he had underlined: “Hindus have to decide whether they want to fight Muslims or poverty and Muslims have to decide whether they want to fight Hindus or poverty. Our well-being is when Hindus and Muslims fight poverty.”
He slammed RJD leader Lalu Prasad for his alleged remarks on Hindus and beef. He said Lalu had insulted the Yaduvanshi and gaupalan community. “All Yaduvanshi leaders came to him and said what have you said. We are the people who have even laid down lives for the sake of the cow. Lalu was worried, and gave a statement that shaitan (devil) had got in. Can Bihar be handed over to a person in whose body the shaitan has entered,” he said.
“Everyday they open the dictionary to find bad words, what abuse can they hurl at Modi, what can they say to defame Modi,” he said.
Meanwhile, in New Delhi, President Pranab Mukherjee reiterated Thursday that tolerance and co-existence are the basic tenets of the Indian civilisation.
Responding to questions from Al Ghad, an Arabic daily of Jordan on the eve of his visit to Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Mukherjee said: “I have noted the speech made by His Majesty King Abdullah in the UN General Assembly on September 29 in which he has proposed seven steps to promote values of tolerance and co-existence in the face of extremism. Tolerance and co-existence are basic tenets of our civilisation. We hold them very dear to our hearts.”
“Our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru propounded the five principles of peaceful co-existence amongst nations. I agree with His Majesty King Abdullah that the world is confronted with a third world war to which we must respond with equal intensity. I also agree that we must go back to the essence of our respective faiths and creeds.”
Hate speech and fear mongering, Mukherjee added, should come to an end and religion should not be allowed to “be used as a mask to satisfy hunger for power and control of some individuals”.