LUCKNOW: In what is being seen as the 'bugle' sounded for the big battle of 2019, PM Narendra Modi seemed to have come a full circle in Maghar on Thursday. A journey which he had started from the land of salvation - Varanasi-four years ago brought him to Maghar -- 'gateway to hell' -- from where he renewed the call for support and issued a note of caution against his political rivals. Paying glowing tributes to Sufi Saint Kabir Das on his 5th death centenary year in this eastern UP town in Sant Kabirnagar district, the prime minister kept the focus of his narrative majorly on development while opening a broadside against opposition at a huge rally in Maghar.
Failing to ignore the potential threat to his party through the imminent grand alliance, the PM launched a stinging attack on his rivals claiming that they were out to vitiate country's political atmosphere by driving wedges along faith and caste lines for their own political gains and greed for power. "Bereft of ground realities, those who claim to be the messiah of Dalits and downtrodden and call themselves samjwadis are only bothered about amassing crores for themselves and their families," said the PM.
The PM did not forget to taunt at SP chief Akhilesh Yadav indirectly over the recent bungalow row. "The head of the previous dispensation in UP had no time to discuss PM Awas Yojana houses for poor. He was never bothered about providing shelter to poor but interested in his own bungalow," Modi said, adding: "Kuchh logon ka man abhi bhi bangale mein laga hai (some people are still thinking about their bungalow only)."
Taking a further swipe at opposition, the PM wondered how big the greed for power was that those who imposed emergency 43 years ago and those who opposed it had joined hands for grabbing power and mutual benefit. "We need to be cautious of such forces who are interested only in creating unrest in the society. They don't relate with the ideologies of Sant Kabir, Mahatma Gandhi or Dr BR Ambedkar," maintained the PM. Invoking Sant Kabir Das in his speech time and again, PM Modi called upon the people to rise above the barriers of caste and creed and focus on wisdom and knowledge to grow in life.
Exhorting the people to draw inspiration from the life of 15th century Sufi saint who rose from dust to be adorned on the forehead like sandal. "Woh Vichar banker aaye aur vyavhaar banker amar huye ( He entered our lives as a thought, an ideology and was immortalised as a way of life)," said the PM while eulogising Sant Kabir. The PM also reiterated the contribution of Kabir in instilling peace and mutual harmony in the society of those times breaking the shackles of caste, creed and religion.
In a subtle bid keep the triple talaq issue alive, the PM blamed the opposition for putting hurdles in the path of the bill in Parliament that would make it illegal. "They (opposition parties) don't want the society to progress. They are insensitive towards the pain and hardships of Muslim mothers and sisters who fall victim to triple talaq," he claimed. A lot of importance is being attached to PM's choice of visiting Maghar at a time when 2019 Lok Sabha elections are just 11 months away. Situated about 200 km Varanasi - Maghar - in eastern Uttar Pradesh's Sant Kabir Nagar is considered to be 'gateway to hell' because of the superstition attached to it. To dispel this myth, 15th century saint Kabir Das travelled to this place and breathed his last here.
The political observers are seeing it as an effort by the PM to woo the dalits and backwards back to the BJP as they stand disillusioned and have supposedly drifted away from the saffron party. In fact, defeats in recent bypolls -- four back to back-- are considered to be the reflection of this sentiment against the saffron party.
He inaugurated a two-day Kabir Mahotsav on the occasion which coincided with the birth anniversary of the revered Sufi saint. The festival, organised by the Ministry of Culture, will feature folk music, dance performances, and musical theatre, artistes from all over the country.