Addressing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentary party meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asserted that peace, harmony and unity were necessary for development. He called on party leaders to ensure the values were practised and followed throughout the country.
The Prime Minister's comments came in the wake of horrific violence in parts of Delhi that have so far taken close to 50 lives and left hundreds injured.
The meeting lasted about 45 minutes and the prime minister spoke for 15 minutes. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP President J P Nadda, MoS PMO Jitendra Singh and Union Minister Smriti Irani were also present at the meeting, which took place at Parliament Library Building.
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 as objections were raised about 'Vande Mataram' after the freedom struggle.
"Some people are now finding a bad smell in Bharat Mata Ki Jai," Modi told MPs at the meeting, according to news agency PTI.
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.
Emphasising 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 for the country's development with their mind, words and action.
PM Modi's call for peace, harmony and unity comes at a time when Opposition parties have accused some BJP leaders of making the hate speeches that allegedly provoked riots in the national capital. The Opposition has also sought to corner the Modi government in Parliament over the issue.
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.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that Modi underlined the importance of national interest for the BJP, contrasting it with others for whom their party was more important than the nation.
According to Joshi, Modi said that even during the freedom struggle some people desisted from raising slogans like 'Vande Mataram'.
Joshi also said that some elements which were opposed to the growing stature of India had become stronger recently.