NAWADA/BEGUSARAI (TIP): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 8 broke his silence on the murder of a Muslim man in Dadri, near Delhi, over rumours that his family was consuming beef, by delivering a strong message against communalism and communal violence.
He chose an election rally in Nawada to clarify his position, saying: “In a democracy everyone has the right to speak their mind. But Hindus must decide whether they want to fight Muslims or poverty. Muslims must decide whether they want to fight Hindus or poverty.”
Reminding the crowd of his speech at Patna Gandhi Maidan during the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign, Modi said, “In the midst of bomb explosions I had said poor Muslims and Hindus had a common enemy in poverty.”
Modi has been criticized for keeping silent on the Dadri murder even though his ministers, Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh, have condemned the killing. The fact that BJP party radicals have sought to minimize the mob’s guilt by calling it an “accident” or by focusing on the “sin” of cow slaughter, created an impression that the party was speaking in two voices.
The PM sought to set doubts to rest by citing President Pranab Mukherjee’s statement on Wednesday warning people against any dilution in India’s core values of diversity and tolerance.
“The Rashtrapati has shown us the way. There is no bigger inspiration than him, let’s follow his path,” Modi said.
After his first two meetings in Bihar’s Samastipur and Begusarai, chief minister Nitish Kumar had tweeted wondering why the PM was silent on the Dadri issue.
In Yadav-dominated Samastipur, Modi launched a strident attack on RJD chief Lalu Prasad for first saying Hindus too eat beef and later backtracking on it. Speaking before a mammoth crowd, Modi said he can’t even utter the words which Lalu said the other day.
“Lalu says it was the devil which made him utter such words. People of Bihar should find out why the devil chose him. There are crores of people all over the globe but the devil chose Lalu,” Modi said.
“It (Lalu’s beef remark) is an insult to Yaduvanshis and pains me the most since I hail from the city of Dwarka and the land where the white revolution started,” Modi said later at Begusarai.
Modi asked the people to choose between “jungle raj” and “vikas raj”. He said, “Bihar has two very important assets — ‘paani’ and ‘jawaani’. Previous governments failed to utilize them. I will be ensure maximum utilization of water and job opportunities.”
At a mammoth rally in Begusarai, Modi responded to Rahul Gandhi’s allegations that his government works only for the rich, saying that the rich do not need government for health, education and transport.
“Governments work for the poor and they are bound to fulfil the basic needs of the people.”
In Munger and Nawada, Modi said described the Mahagathbandhan of JD(U), RJD and Congress as “swarthbandhan”. He added, “Though the three parties have ruled Bihar for 60 years, they have a zero account on development. Roj subah ek ki kaam hai. Dictionary khol ke sab baith jaate hain aur sabse bade shabd dhoondhte hai ki aaj PM ko kaun si gaali di jaaye.”