Contending that the definition of secularism has been distorted, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday invoked Jan Sangh ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay to say that Muslims should be treated as “your own” rather than seeing them as “items of vote market”. Addressing the BJP Council meeting in Kozhikode, he said his government’s mission of ‘sabka sath, sabka vikas’ is not a political slogan but a commitment to ensure welfare of the last man in the society.
In his speech, Modi spoke at length about secularism, balanced and inclusive growth and need for electoral reforms while paying tributes to Upadhyay on his 100th birth anniversary. “These days, the definition has been distored. Even nationalism is cursed these days,” he said. While talking about life and contribution of Upadhyay, Modi quoted him as saying, “don’t reward nor rebuke Muslims. Empower them. They are not items of vote market nor are they substance of hate. Treat them as your own.”
At the conclusion of the two-day BJP conclave here aimed at making inroads in Kerala, the Prime Minister traced the party’s journey from the days of Jan Sangh and asserted that “we never compromised with our ideology”. He said if the BJP had compromised with the ideology, it could have attained power long back.
Underlining that nobody is a “pariah”, Modi said the whole society should feel pain if one person is hurt like a human whole body feels pain if any part is injured. “This is the direction of our politics. Nobody can be an outsider for us,” the Prime Minister said. He said his government’s efforts in developing the eastern part of country was driven by the party ideologue’s concept of integral humanism because if the western India develops and the eastern India lags, then “Mother India can never be healthy”.
He stuck to his themes of development and uplift of the poor and marginalised sections, saying his government had been committed to “sabka saath sabka vikas” (With everybody, development for everybody) and that the man at the bottom of society should be at the centre of developmental schemes. “The only solution to the country’s problems is development. If the gulf in the society has to be bridged, then those in the bottom can only be helped by development,” he said.
He also asked party leaders to set an example through their good their conduct as he lamented that the image of politicians has deteriorated in the eyes of the common man so much since independence that sons often do not disclose their father is in politics. “If you can do that, it will be an apt tribute to Upadhyay, he said.
“Though there are good people in all parties, their number is more in BJP due to its commitment to ideology,” he said and asked them to launch programmes to convert its 11 crore members into cadres. He recalled that a former Prime Minister had once said in an interview that occupying the post was like scaling Mount Everest where one does not go to stay. “We are not like that,” Modi said.