Modi invokes Kabir, Targets opponents

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PTI file photo

In an apparent bid to woo Dalits and OBCs ahead of next year's Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday invoked 15th-century poet Kabir, who in his time, had decried casteism.

Modi also accused his political rivals of using Dalits and backwards as a vote bank.

The prime minister, while addressing a public meeting after laying the foundation stone of Sant Kabirdas Academy to spread Kabir's teachings as well as those of others, also referred to the Emergency and said those who imposed it and those who had opposed it have now joined hands for power.

He also launched a veiled attack on Congress president Rahul Gandhi saying that a man did not become great by birth and that it was one's deeds that made one great.

Kabir had breathed his last at Magahar, a place he considered inauspicious. Incidentally, according to Hindu mythology, when a person died in Magahar, he doesn't achieve salvation but rather goes to hell.

"Sant Kabirdas spread the message of social harmony... he, in a way, represented the true spirit of India... but some political parties do not understand Kabir's message... they are only concerned about their bungalows," Modi said, apparently referring to Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati.

He also accused SP, BSP and other Opposition parties of resorting to the politics of caste to cling to power.

In his 40-minute address, the prime minister quoted extensively from the writings of Kabirdas and said the latter had created a "spiritual awareness" in the country.

"Kabirdas is an example that a person does not become great by birth but by his deeds," Modi said apparently referring to Rahul and Akhilesh.

"Some political parties do not want peace and harmony in the country... they want chaos, so that they can gain political mileage out of it," the prime minister said.

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Modi invokes Kabir, Targets opponents

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