Invoking 15th century poet-saint Kabir Das, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused opposition parties of creating unrest in society and joining hands in their lust for power.
“Those who imposed Emergency and those who were against it are now trying to forge alliances,” he said at a public meeting in Maghar, UP on Thursday.
Modi was on a first-ever visit by a prime minister to this nondescript town in Sant Kabir Nagar district where Kabir Das, who preached against caste and religious differences, attained salvation.
“The lust for power is such that those imposing Emergency and those who had opposed it then are today walking shoulder to shoulder, and searching for an opportunity to snatch power,” he said.
“They are not bothered about the welfare of the country or society, but are concerned about their own welfare and their family’s interest,” Modi said at the event which marked Kabir’s 500th death anniversary.
“They want to deceive the poor, the oppressed and the deprived to fill their pockets, build bungalows worth crores and make their relatives owners of properties worth crores,” he said.
“They think if there is unrest they will benefit politically,” he said.
“But these people are cut off from reality and don’t know the nature of this nation of Sant Kabir, Mahatma Gandhi and Baba Ambedkar,” Modi said.
Those who always talk of ‘samajwad’ and ‘bahujan’ are extremely selfish, he said in an apparent reference to BJP’s key rivals in Uttar Pradesh – the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party.
Referring to the recent controversy over former chief ministers being served notices to vacate their bungalows in compliance with a Supreme Court order, he said, “Those people had developed an attachment to their luxurious bungalows.”
He criticised the approach of the previous government in Uttar Pradesh when his BJP government at the Centre launched the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
“Our government repeatedly wrote letters but they did not give the number of houses to be constructed for the poor. It was a government which was interested in its own bungalows,” he said.
“After Kabir, it was Raidas, Mahatma Phule, Mahatma Gandhi and Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar who showed the way to eradicate social inequalities existing in society,” he said.
“Unfortunately, today an attempt is being made to politicise the names of these great personalities for vested interests and to divide and break up society,” he added.
He also raised the issue of instant divorce. “You have seen the approach of these people on triple talaq.”
Modi said Muslim women demanded removal of triple talaq despite threats. But political parties that indulge in vote bank politics for power were creating hindrances in the passage of the triple talaq bill in the Parliament.
“They want a weak society for their own vested interests, and do not want to see a society free from evils.”
Lauding Kabir, the prime minister said he envisaged Lord Ram as an ideal king. Modi described Kabir’s imagination as democratic and “panth nirpeksh” (secular, denomination-neutral).
“Unfortunately some families claim themselves to be the `bhagya vidhaataa (saviours) of the people, and are hell-bent on contradicting the preaching of Kabir Das ji.”
“In the name of poverty alleviation, they forced the poor to remain dependent on vote bank politics. In the last four years, we have made utmost efforts to change this through various schemes,” he said.
In his over 30-minute speech, the prime minister said just as Kabir Das in his time broke the myth that Maghar was a cursed place, his government had made concerted efforts to develop every part of India.
Recalling former President A P J Abdul Kalam, who visited Maghar in 2003, the prime minister said it will be developed as a centre of harmony on the global map.
He said by imbibing Kabir’s thoughts and preaching, “we will be able to fulfil the promise of New India”.
Earlier, Modi offered a ‘chadar’ at the ‘mazar’ of Sant Kabir Das. He also laid the foundation stone for the Sant Kabir Academy.
The prime minister began his speech by greeting people in Bhojpuri, and ended it with the salutation “saheb bandagi.” PTI