PM denounces communalism, says his govt stands for all
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 27
Breaking his silence in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today denounced communalism and asserted that his government stood for unity wherein all religions prosper within the framework of the Constitution.
“My government’s only religion is ‘India first’, my government’s only religious book is ‘Indian Constitution’, our only devotion is ‘Bharat Bhakti’ and our only prayer is ‘welfare of all’,” he said in Lok Sabha while replying to a debate on President’s Address.
He declared that as the Prime Minister, it was his “responsibility” not to allow “anaap shanap (ridiculous) comments in the name of religion.
“Nobody has the right to discriminate on the basis of religion… “No one has the right to take law into his hands,” the Prime Minister said.
His statement assumes significance as the government has been under attack over certain communal remarks made by some BJP and Sangh parivar leaders.“Communalism for political reasons has destroyed the country. Hearts have been broken,” Modi said, asking why questions are being “posed to us.”
Insisting that “We want all religions to prosper”, the Prime Minister said it is possible only in India under its Constitution which has been prepared with the thinking of thousands of years of the country’s history.
“This nation full of diversity. We are for unity in diversity, not disunity. All religions should flourish. It is the uniqueness of India because of its Constitution,” he said.
“We want to take the nation forward within the framework of the Constitution,” Modi said, adding he saw only the “tricolor” and “no other colour.” Recalling his election rally in Patna in October 2013 which was rocked by serial bomb blasts, Modi said he had then “asked who should Hindus fight with — with muslims or poverty? I had asked muslims, do you want to fight with hindus or poverty. We have fought enough. Now let us unite and fight against poverty.” Referring to his slogan of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’, he said he sought the cooperation of the opposition also for the benefit of the country.
Modi hits back at critics, ready to bend on land bill
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday said his government was willing to bend on the controversial land acquisition bill, and pledged not to allow any discrimination against any religion.
In a forceful speech in the Lok Sabha in which he took on the Congress, Modi also justified his foreign trips and called the previous government’s flagship rural job guarantee scheme a “proof” of its failure.
Replying to the motion of thanks to the president’s address in parliament, Modi said he was ready to bring about changes to the land bill that has been dubbed “anti-farmer” by critics.
“If there is anything against farmers in the bill, the government is ready to change it,” the prime minister said, giving the first clear hint of a mindset change on an issue that has sparked widespread protests.
The prime minister dismissed criticism that his government, which took power in May last year, was biased against minorities.
“My government’s only religion is ‘India first’, my government’s only religious book is the Indian constitution, our only devotion is ‘Bharat Bhakti’ and our only prayer is ‘welfare of all’,” Modi said to thunderous thumping of the desks by BJP MPs and allies.
Parliament’s winter session was held up for days following opposition protests against controversial remarks by groups linked to the Bharatiya Janata Party. MPs had then asked Modi to come clean on the subject.
Speaking on the issue in parliament for the first time, Modi said as prime minister it was his duty not to allow “anaap shanap” (ridiculous) comments in the name of religion.
“Nobody has the right to discriminate on the basis of religion… No one has the right to take law into his hands,” he said.
“Communalism for political reasons has destroyed the country. Hearts have been broken.”
But Modi demanded to know why questions were being “posed to us”.
“We want all religions to prosper. We are for unity in diversity, not disunity. All religions should flourish,” he added. “It is the uniqueness of India because of its constitution.”
Recalling his words in Patna last year, he said both Hindus and Muslims need to battle poverty, not one another.
The prime minister tore into Congress-sponsored Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme as it was a “living reminder” of the previous government’s “failures”.
“I will ensure MNREGA is never discontinued. It is proof of your failings.
“After so many years of being in power, all you were able to deliver is for a poor man to dig ditches a few days a month,” he said, triggering another round of loud approval by his party colleagues.
Mufti to head 25-member cabinet, PM to attend his swearing-in
PDP patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed will head a 25-member cabinet, half of it from BJP, in Jammu and Kashmir and the swearing-in ceremony on Sunday in Jammu will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
With the PDP-BJP deal sealed after ironing out differences over contentions issues like Article 370 and AFSPA, 79-year- old Sayeed, who will be sworn in as Chief Minister, met the Prime Minister today, capping two-month long hard negotiations between the two parties on government formation.
According to highly-placed sources, Sayeed will be heading a 25-member cabinet which will have 12 BJP MLAs including a Deputy Chief Minister post. This is the first time that BJP is in the government in the state.
Accompanied by chief interlocutor of PDP Haseeb Drabu, Sayeed had a nearly one-hour long meeting with Modi during which he extended invitation to the PM for attending the swearing-in ceremony at Jammu on March one.
Modi and Sayeed were all smiles as they hugged and posed for cameras with their photographs trending on social networks within minutes. “I have extended invitation to the Prime Minister for attending the ceremony and he has agreed,” Sayeed told reporters after the meeting at PM’s official residence at 7, Race Course Road.