Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said the influence of Mahatma Gandhi is writ large on all the work that has been done by the BJP-led Centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Speaking at the 'Dalit Samman Samaroh' in the national capital on Sunday, the Defence Minister said, "Gandhiji is in the hearts and minds of all countrymen. Everyone in the country and the world is familiar with Bapu's ideas, principles and his lifelong quest for the truth. He came into this world 154 years ago, on October 2. To me, October 2 marks not just the birth of an individual but a chapter in our history. It marks an epoch."
"The work that we have undertaken under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi is influenced by the thoughts and ideas espoused by Mahatma Gandhi. Though our banks were nationalised much before we came to power, it wasn't until Modi-ji became prime minister that a member of every household, across all sections of society, could open bank accounts of their own. (Jan Dhan) Accounts of worth in excess of Rs 50 crore have been opened to date," Singh said.
Also unveiled a statue of the Mahatma at his memorial, Rajghat, on Sunday, the Raksha Mantri said the first initiative that PM Modi after assuming the reins of the country was the 'Swachhta Abhiyaan' (cleanliness campaign).
"As is widely known, Gandhi-ji was a stickler for cleanliness in his lifetime. I believe that the governments that came after him forgot the ideals that he held dear. But the government under Modi-ji deserves praise for carrying forward Bapu's thoughts and beliefs through its public welfare initiatives. The first campaign that Modiji launched after taking over as PM was the Swachhta Abhiyaan," Singh added.
The senior BJP leader sat on the floor along with others at the event and had lunch with them.
Invoking the Mahatma's idea of non-violence and how he won over many hearts by choosing the path to peace, Singh said, "The ideas he propounded in the last century are relevant even to this day. Gandhi-ji neither provoked any war nor had ambitions of annexing any country or territory. He won many hearts around the world by simply treading the path of non-violence. Even people, who never met him, were influenced by his thoughts and principles."
"I am reminded of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela today. They never met Gandhi-ji in his lifetime but held his principles dear and followed the path of non-violence as shown by him. Following Bapu's teachings, they served humanity and inspired people. Bapu had not only dreamt of an India free from the shackles of oppression but also an India after freedom," he added.
On the Champaran Movement of 1917, Singh said the Mahatma's objective behind the Satyagrah was to draw the attention of the British government to the worsening state of India's farmers under their rule. (ANI)