LUCKNOW: In yet another bid to reach out to the protesting farmers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to convince them of the virtues of the three new farm laws, saying the intent of the reforms was to help and empower the small and marginal farmers.
He was addressing a gathering through a video link while laying the foundation stone for the memorial statue of warrior tribal king Maharaja Suheldev on his birth anniversary in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday.
The PM reiterated that forces with vested political interests were trying to misguide the farmers. “Those who have grabbed vast expanses of farmers’ land do not want to see them flourish and earn more,” he said.
Lamenting that Maharaja Suheldev did not get his due, the PM trained his guns at ‘those who had scripted the country’s history’. He said history was not limited to what was written by those who had the “mentality of slavery” or those who had enslaved the country.
“It (history) is also that which the common people of India have kept alive in folklores, which pertain to the legends that have transcended the centuries,” said the PM.
He also referred to freedom fighters such as Subhas Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Dr BR Ambedkar who, he said, did not get proper acknowledgement for their invaluable contributions to the country’s freedom struggle and its social development.
“This is for the first time in 1,000 years that the birth anniversary of Maharaj Suheldev is being celebrated like this.” The PM also inaugurated a medical college in the name of the warrior king, awarded to the district four years ago.
Maharaja Suheldev, who is said to have killed invader Mohammad Ghaznavi’s nephew Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masood in early 11th century, is considered an icon for the Rajbhar community, a Most Backward Caste, in eastern UP.
With the 2022 assembly elections in sight, the BJP plans to consolidate its Rajbhar vote bank which accounts for a significant percentage of the Purvanchal population.