Making a powerful pitch to project the BJP as a pro-Dalit, pro-poor party dedicated to the idea of social justice, Prime Minister Modi said the ruling party’s position vis-à-vis the country’s largest minority has been “deliberately misrepresented.” He was addressing the BJP’s National Council meet here.
The meeting also saw the flagging off of the birth centenary celebrations of former Jan Sangh president and ideologue, Deendayal Upadhyaya, as Gareeb Kalyan Varsha or the Year of the Welfare of the Poor.
Mr. Modi said a “vikrit paribhasha” or “twisted definition of secularism” was holding sway. “Desh bhakti ko bhi kosa jaata ho, aisa mahaul ban gaya hai, (there is an atmosphere in the country where even gestures of nationalism and patriotism are abused),” he said. He urged party men to look to Deendayal Upadhyaya’s writings to answer critics. “Musalmanon ko na puraskrit karna chahiye, na tiraskrit karna chahiye, unko vote ki mandi ka saaman nahin samajhna chahiye, unko apna samajhna chahiye (Muslims should neither be rewarded nor punished without any reason; neither should they be considered a vote market, they should be considered our own),” the Prime Minister said, quoting Deendayal Upadhyaya.
In the last few months the party had been under fire over incidents of cow vigilantism, with other parties accusing the Sangh of an anti-Dalit, Hindutva agenda especially around the issue of cow protection.
Mr. Modi, however, termed the Gareeb Kalyan Varsha as an opportunity for the party to articulate its true, welfare character. “Agar kisi ko barabari par laana hai, toh upar ke logon ko jhuk karke apne haath vanchit logon ki ore badhana chahiye (if you want to establish true equality then those at the top must lend a helping hand to the downtrodden),” he said.
“According to Deendayalji’s philosophy of integral humanism, he looked at the body politic as one, Bharat Mata as being one entity. Thus, how can we believe in a version of development where the western zone of the nation develops, but the eastern lags behind. The goal of development would be fulfilled when everyone reaps the benefit of development. No one can be considered as stranger for us. Bharat Mata encompasses all of us. No one can be left behind,” the Prime Minister said.
He told partymen that the BJP was one of the few parties free of the “illnesses of other parties” and best equipped to take on the task.
“We are a cadre-based mass-based party, both. It should not be that as the mass base grows, the cadre shrinks. We must train our 11 crore members to be like our cadre, to take forward the work of welfare,” he said.
The political resolution of the party, cleared at the meeting of the National Council, accused the Congress of failing to end the economic disparity even after 70 years of independence and said the BJP will promote social harmony to ensure that social justice is rendered to the marginalised sections.
“During the long years of Congress rule, the weaker and the deprived sections have been denied transparent allocation of basic amenities. Thus the poor have become poorer in the rural areas and urban Dalits got confined to slums,” the resolution said.
It also sought to establish co-ordination in the poverty alleviation programmes of the Central government and State governments ruled by the BJP.