Addressing an election rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Fatehpur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said no government should discriminate against people on the basis of religion and caste.
“Sabka saath, sabka vikas is our mantra”, PM Modi said. “Ramzan me bijli athi hai tho Diwali me bhi ani chahiye; Bhedbhav nhi hona chahiye (If there is electricity during Ramadan then it must be available during Diwali too; there shouldn’t be any discrimination)” the prime minister added.
He went on to add, “Gaon me kabristan banta hai to shamshaan bhi banna chahiye (If there is a ‘kabaristaan’ (graveyard), there should be a ‘shamshaan’ (cremation ground) too.”
For a fuller report of the PM’s speech telecast live by TV channels, read this report in The Indian Express.
The statement shocked many commentators and some of them wondered what the Prime Minister really meant. While political rivals and commentators were sarcastic and tweeted that the PM had moved from Bullet trains to graveyards in just three years in office, others wondered who could have possibly briefed him about Hindus not getting electricity during Diwali but Muslims favoured with electricity during Ramazan.
Was it Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal, who had claimed at a press conference in Lucknow earlier this month that the UP Government was discriminating against Hindus while delivering electricity?
The Prime Minister’s statement came in for sharp criticism with observers pointing out that it seemed to have crossed the Laxman Rekha of the Model Code of Conduct. The Indian Express also reported that the Congress was likely to approach the Election Commission to file a complaint against the PM. If the Election Commission does take note of the polarising speech, it could be the first time for a Prime Minister to be hauled up for violation of the code.
Here are some of the sharp reactions to the PM’s speech, on Twitter: