Modi ties unity to development

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a pitch for unity and diversity on Sunday, saying the mantra of unity should pervade “our thought, conduct and articulation.”

Saluting Sardar Patel for geographically uniting India, Mr. Modi called for social unity in his Mann Ki Baat address to the nation. “India is a nation of diversities. There are many sects, communities, languages and castes. India is a diverse country and this diversity is our adornment,” he said. “Peace, harmony and unity are necessary for development.”

Mr. Modi’s statement follows statements made by him and President Pranab Mukherjee in the wake of an outcry over the killing of a Muslim at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh on the suspicion of storing beef and the “insensitive” statements made by some BJP leaders after the incident.

Read: Live update of PM's address on 'Mann ki Baat'

Mr. Modi has reached out to Dalits at a time when Union Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh’s “dog” analogy in the wake of the deaths of two children from Dalit families has led to an outcry.

He said the house where Dr. B.R. Ambedkar lived in London had now become Indian property and he would be present there just after Diwali for the formal inauguration.

“This house will give inspiration to Dalits, the exploited and oppressed, the backward and those who face difficulties in life that if they have will power they can surmount difficulties and move ahead in life,” Mr. Modi said. The house would be a pilgrimage centre for Dalit youth going to London on government scholarships.

The statement had immediate political repercussions. Janata Dal (United) leader K.C. Tyagi, whose party is taking on the NDA in alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress in Bihar, saw this as an attempt to reach out to Dalits in the State and, thus, a violation of the model code of conduct.

Policy initiatives

The Prime Minister announced some policy initiatives that would soon kick in. There would be no interviews for Group B, C and D appointments in non-gazetted jobs under the Central government from January 1, he said. Gold monetisation — where banks will give interest on gold deposits just like cash — would be ushered in around Diwali, and ‘Sovereign Gold Bonds’ and gold coins would also be issued soon, he added.

Leaders of the grand alliance in Bihar were quick to attack Mr. Modi. “The PM’s announcement of doing away with interviews for Group D, C and B non-gazetted posts in Central government means a goodbye to the reservation policy as recruitment will only be held on merit basis. The PM’s statement suggests so. We strongly oppose this and will make a representation to the EC [Election Commission] soon and raise this issue inside and outside Parliament,” Mr. Tyagi said.

Congress leader R.P.N. Singh and eminent lawyer K.T.S. Tulsi were with him. “This is the effective implementation of Mohan Bhagwat’s demand for a review of the reservation policy,” he said.

Source: The Hindu


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