Patna: Ten days after a man was lynched in Dadri for apparently consuming beef, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said Hindus and Muslims should be fighting poverty and not each other. 

Modi’s message is an answer to the criticism he is facing for being silent despite the BJP and other Hindutva leaders attempting to polarise the situation in Dadri where one Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched.

The prime minister also strongly appealed to the people to ignore passion-rousing statements from politicians, including him, if he made any. 

Winding up his first day’s campaigning at Nawada ahead of the phase one of Bihar Assembly polls on Monday, Modi requested the nation to follow President Pranab Mukherjee’s peace prescription he delivered at a launch of a book in Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday.

 “I have said it earlier also. Hindus should decide whether to fight Muslims or poverty. Muslims have to decide whether to fight Hindus or poverty....Both need to fight poverty together.... The country has to stay united,”

said Modi.

As always, Modi appreciated Mukherjee, whom he also fondly addressed as “Dada”, for his political wisdom saying: “Yesterday (Wednesday), the President showed the path. Whatever the head of the country of 125 crore people has said, there can be no bigger message, no bigger direction and no bigger inspiration.”

“It is unity, communal harmony, brotherhood and peace that will take the nation forward,” Modi said, echoing Mukherjee’s lesson on secularism and the need to preserve the core values of pluralism and tolerance.

“Some politicians are making irresponsible statements for political interests... Such statements should end... Do not pay attention to such statements, even if Modi makes such statements,” the prime minister appealed. Earlier in the day, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav hinted at the BJP’s hand in the incident. Describing it a “pre-planned conspiracy”, Mulayam said three people belonging to a particular party, which was also behind the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, were behind the Dadri killing.

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