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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

SP, BSP only care about bungalows: Modi invokes mystic poet Kabir to attack oppn

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Uttar Pradesh to lay the foundation stone for the Sant Kabir Academy, accused opposition parties of practising “politics of hate”.

india Updated: Jun 28, 2018 22:17 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Maghar (Sant Kabir Nagar)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public rally in Sant Kabir Nagar district, Uttar Pradesh, on June 28, 2018.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public rally in Sant Kabir Nagar district, Uttar Pradesh, on June 28, 2018. (Amiruddin Ahmad Guddu/HT Photo )

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday invoked 15th century mystic poet and saint Kabir to launch an attack on Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav as he sounded the poll bugle in Uttar Pradesh ahead of next year’s general election.

“Kabir was against the caste system and called for unity of humanity. However, some opposition leaders are trying to create tension in the society by indulging in the politics of hate,” Modi said in a reference to the SP and the BSP, which champion the cause of scheduled castes, other backward classes and minorities.

“Kabir’s wisdom will be used in shaping ‘New India’. Those talking of ‘samajwad’ and ‘bahujan’ are only interested in grabbing power either by hook or crook,” he said, playing on the names of his party’s two main rivals in the state.

Modi said that to serve vested political interests, such leaders were trying to create unrest in society. “They are cut off from ground realities and are not aware of the basic belief prevailing among the common people,” Modi said.

Modi’s remarks follow setbacks for his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in key Lok Sabha byelections in Gorakhpur and Phulpur where SP candidates supported by the BSP defeated the ruling party’s candidates in March. In May, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate Tabassum Hasan won the Kairana Lok Sabha by-election,backed by Congress, SP and BSP. Modi’s attacks on Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav is a likely indication that he sees their parties, and not the Congress, as the BJP’s biggest rivals in the 2019 general election in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state.

Yadav and Mayawati accused Modi of engaging in vote-bank politics by invoking t Kabir.

“When the Lok Sabha elections are just round the corner, the PM is remembering Kabir Das... Is it not petty politics of vote bank?” Mayawati asked in a statement.

Yadav said it was sad that the BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, were using great personalities to serve their political motives. “Sant Kabir Das was above caste, creed, or religion. He attacked superstitions and has followers all over the country. The BJP has made an obnoxious attempt to use Kabir’s name..,” he said.

Maghar is located 28 km east of Gorakhpur, the Lok Sabha seat vacated by UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

Referring to the resistance allegedly offered by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav in vacating their government bungalows following a Supreme Court order, Modi said: “These leaders have not read Kabir. Instead of ensuring welfare of the masses, they are concerned about their own bungalows.”

“The SP leaders put the housing scheme launched by the central government on the backburner as they were more concerned about saving their big bungalows,” the PM said.

Earlier, Modi paid floral tribute to Kabir and laid the foundation stone of the Sant Kabir Academy.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath and mahant of Kabir Math, Vichar Das accompanied the PM when he visited the premises where Kabir breathed his last. Addressing a public meeting adjacent to Kabir’s mausoleum, Modi said the BJP would spread Kabir’s message of equality and brotherhood.

Reminding the people of traditional rivalry between the Congress and opposition parties, Modi said the party that imposed Emergency rule in 1975-77 and those who opposed it were now coming together to grab power.

“The opposition leaders, who were bitter rivals, are standing shoulder to shoulder not for the welfare of the poor but for personal gains. In the name of removing poverty, these parties only played politics,” he said.

Modi said the BJP government was working on the principle of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ (collective effort, inclusive growth) irrespective of caste and community.

“All the communities are benefiting from Jan Dhan scheme (financial inclusion), Ujjwala scheme (cooking gas connections to the poor), pension plan, Ayushman Bharat programme (national health protection), toilets constructed under Swachh Bharat scheme and power connection plan,” he said.

Aware that a Dalit-Muslim-backward class alliance may upset BJP’s applecart in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Modi reminded people about Kabir’s fight against the caste system and orthodoxy.

“Kabir was a ‘karamyogi’ and believed in work. The NDA government is also building new highways, constructing airports and laying optical fibre to take the country to a new level of development,” he said.

First Published: Jun 28, 2018 20:29 IST