Self-appointed social guardians didn’t like Modi with Dalits: PM Housing boost for suburbs with civic elections ahead
“Self-appointed guardians” threatened by his government’s commitment to Dalits are creating social tensions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, exhorting them not to inflict pain on wounds caused by “thousandsof yearsof injustice”.
Modi, whose government is accused by the opposition of unleashing social terror, cautioned against giving a political colour to social problems while asking party hotheads to choose their words carefully.
Contesting accusations that his government was anti-Dalit, Modi said he was working for the development of the community.
“All those self-appointed guardians who were trying to create tensions in the country did not like this -- that Modi is with Dalits, that Modi devotes himself to tribals… Those who see this as an obstruction to their politics are the ones creating trouble,” he said.
Economic progress alone was not the solution, he said in an interview to Network 18 that was broadcast on Friday.
“Peace, unity and harmony is essential for society. We don’t need unity to fight poverty alone… We need to be committed to social justice,” he said.
Warning against casteism, Modi said the BJP would fight the Uttar Pradesh elections on the issue of development alone.
“The poison of casteism and communal vote bank has caused enough damage.”
India’s most populous state, which is due for polls early next year, has voted regional parties for decades and the BJP wants to change that. The party is looking beyond its traditional support base of upper castes and is wooing Dalits who account for 21% of the state’s population.
Modi counted the government celebrating Dalit icon BR Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary and the BJP’s sizeable presence among marginalised communities with many Dalit lawmakers as key indicators of his and his party’s attitude towards Dalits.
Data showed that communal violence and atrocities against Dalits and tribals had come down under his government, Modi said.
The government has come under increased pressure after some Dalit youth were flogged in public Una in his home state of Gujarat in July.
Close on the heels of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections, the Devendra Fadnavis-led government on Friday announced a slew of proposed changes to the city’s development control regulation, offering a windfall for the suburbs, promising to hasten redevelopment of old buildings.
In the first major political event before the 2017 polls, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis shared the stage with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, in one of Mumbai’s largest suburbs, Ghatkopar, also housing minister Prakash Mehta’s constituency, and unveiled a new ‘housing MORE FSI, MORE HOMES policy.’ The announcements catered to the redevelopment of old dilapidated buildings in the suburbs, buildings of the state housing authority, transit camps and slums sprawled on key land of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
Fadnavis said, “Mumbai’s suburbs are rife with problems, MHADA BUILDINGS but the most major one is that the common man is scared about leaving his house [for redevelopment]. He fears that once he leaves his home, he will never get it back. But we are committed to our promise of giving this common man relief.”