Express News Service
LUCKNOW: In yet another bid to reach out to the protesting farmers, PM Narendra Modi tried to convince them of the virtues of the three newly-introduced farm laws saying the intent of the reforms to help and empower the small and marginal farmers.
Modi was addressing a gathering through a video link after laying the foundation stone of the memorial statue of warrior tribal king Maharaja Suheldev on his birth anniversary in Bahraich on Tuesday.
The PM reiterated that forces with vested political interests were trying to misguide the farmers.
“Those who have grabbed the expanses of farmers’ land do not want to see them flourish. They do not want to see the farmers earn more. My government is committed to making every citizen of the country empowered,” said the PM to draw support for the three farm laws over which the farmers have been protesting at the Delhi border with Haryana and UP for the last two and a half months.
Lamenting that Maharaja Suheldev, the warrior king of Bahraich, could not get his due in history, the PM trained guns at those who had scripted the country’s history by saying that history of India is not just what was written by those who enslaved the country, but also the stories represented in the folk tales of the people.
He also brought the reference of great freedom fighters such as Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and Dr BR Ambedkar who all, as he claimed, did not get proper acknowledgement for their invaluable contributions to the country, in winning its freedom and its social evolution. “All theseluminaries were not accorded their place of honour and respect which they deserved,” said the PM.
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“Today, when India is entering its 75th year of Independence, there can be no bigger an occasion to remember those luminaries and take inspiration from their contributions, sacrifice, struggle, valour, and martyrdom,” said PM Modi.
He added: “It’s a misfortune that those who dedicated their lives to protect India were not given their due position… The injustice and manipulation meted out to those who created history, by those who wrote history is being corrected by today’s India.”
“This is for the first time in 1,000 years that the birth anniversary of Maharaja Suheldev is being celebrated like this,” the PM said to substantiate his point.
Lauding CM Yogi Adityanath for his handling of pandemic in the state, PM Modi said, “The way the work was done in Uttar Pradesh during the Corona period is significant. Imagine how things would have been done at the national and international level if the situation in UP had worsened. But Yogi Ji’s entire team managed to handle the situation in the best possible manner.”
On the occasion, Modi also laid the foundation of the restoration work of Chittaura Lake in Bahraich. He also inaugurated a medical college awarded to Bahraich four years ago in the name of the warrior king.
Maharaja Suheldev, who is said to have killed invader Mohammad Ghaznavi’s nephew Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masood in the early 11th century, is considered a key icon for the Rajbhar community, an MBC, in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Earlier in December 2020, Modi had released a postal stamp of Suheldev at an event in Ghazipur. At the time, the PM had said this was to take Maharaja Suheldev’s contribution to all Indians through the stamp.
With the 2022 Assembly elections close in sight, BJP has an eye on the Rajbhar vote bank. In fact, the Rajbhar community accounts for a significant percentage of the Purvanchal population. They are considered the second-most politically dominant force to reckon with after the Yadavs in eastern UP. Traditionally, they used to vote with the Dalits for Mayawati’s BSP, but in 2017, this chunk of the population shifted its loyalty to the BJP after the party allied with Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) headed by Om Prakash Rajbhar.
However, SBSP could also open its account in UP Assembly. Later, it won four seats after aligning with the BSP. Rajbhar became a minister in the Yogi government but later parted ways at the time of 2019 general election owing to his soaring political ambitions.