Prime Minister Narendra Modi today invoked Jan Sangh ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay to say Muslims should not be treated as a votebank. Rather they should be considered “your own” and be “empowered”.
Paying tribute to Upadhyay on his 100th birth anniversary at the BJP Council meeting, PM Modi said at a time when nationalism was looked at in “negative light” and there were questions on minorities should be treated, Upadhyaya had suggested a solution.
“Don’t reward Muslims. Don’t rebuke Muslims. Empower them. Don’t think of them as votebanks or commodities, think of them as your own,” he quoted Upadhyaya as saying.
The current BJP government’s motto, “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” is on the same line, he said. “We want the most underprivileged to be the first to progress.”
For equality, those at the top need to lend a hand to those at the lower rungs, he added. This, he said, was intimately connected to development and progress.
The Prime Minister spoke at length about secularism, balanced and inclusive growth and need for electoral reforms.
At the meet, he also announced that India will ratify the Paris climate deal on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The BJP is hoping to make inroads in Kerala, where the party won a single seat in the assembly elections held earlier this year.