NEW DELHI: Asserting that peace, harmony and unity are prerequisites for the country's development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked BJP MPs to take lead in ensuring amity in society.
Addressing the BJP parliamentary party meeting, Modi also took a veiled dig at his predecessor and Congress leader Manmohan Singh, saying attempts were being made to create a controversy around the slogan 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' (Hail Mother India) in the same way objections were raised about 'Vande Mataram' after the freedom struggle.
At a recent event, Singh had said the slogan of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' was being misused to construct a "militant and purely emotional" idea of India that excludes millions of residents and citizens.
"Some people are now finding a bad smell in Bharat Mata Ki Jai," Modi told MPs at the meeting, sources said.
In his first speech at a party forum after Delhi riots, which have left more than 40 people dead, Modi said national interest is supreme for the BJP while for others party interest is of the most importance, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters after the meeting.
'Vikas' (development) is our mantra and peace, harmony and unity are prerequisites for the country's development, he told the MPs.
"We should not merely speak about it but take lead in ensuring peace, harmony and unity," the prime minister said.
Emphasising on his slogan of 'sabka saath, sabka vikas and sabka vishwash' (With all, development for all and trust of all), Modi invoked the Sanskrit words of "manasa, vaacha, karmana" to ask party leaders to work the country's development with their mind, words and action.
His call for peace, harmony and unity comes at a time when opposition parties have accused some BJP leaders of making hate speeches which, they alleged, provoked riots in the national capital.
The opposition has also sought to corner the Modi government in Parliament over the issue.
Keeping 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' on their minds, they should work for the country's development which, he said, is supreme.
In the meeting, Modi also highlighted the benefits of Jan Aushadhi Kendra, which sells medicines at subsidised rates, and said he would interact with the beneficiaries on March 7.