India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks with the media inside the parliament premises on the first day of the winter session, in New Delhi, India, December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi - RC149F995270
With the BJP leading protests against the Kerala government over the Sabarimala issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told party workers in the state to express their views firmly to convince people while following democratic and constitutional norms.
In an interaction with party workers in the state as part of his nation-wide dialogue with BJP workers in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, Modi said there should be no let-up in their efforts to spread public awareness as he referred to a "sad news".
He was referring to the death of 55-year old Venugopalan Nair, who died after setting himself afire near the venue of the party's protest in the state on December 13.
The BJP had called for a bandh in the state, claiming that Nair took the extreme step due to the "adamant" stand of the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government on the Sabarimala issue.
However, police claimed that Nair in his dying declaration given to the Magistrate said he did so due to depression and ran towards the protest venue after setting himself afire.
Modi asked BJP workers to "inspire" people across the state to avoid taking any extreme step.
Every life is important and it should not suffer, he said in his video-interaction with party's booth workers from Attingal, Mavelikkara, Kollam, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta.
The BJP has been protesting against the state government over its decision to implement the Supreme Court order allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa Temple and also demanding lifting of ban orders and restrictions.
He also referred to killings of BJP workers in alleged political violence in the state and referred to the example of Tripura, where the saffron party defeated the Left earlier this year after its 20-year rule, to assert that such a day is not far in Kerala.
"Those in power in Kerala for years have shown no respect for democracy. They have made every effort to silence the voice of BJP workers and voice of people. Despite BJP workers' killings, state govt failed to performance their duty," the prime minister said.
In Kerala, he said, there are two governance models, the Congress model and the Communist model.
"Both models are models of efficient corruption and inefficient governance. The BJP model of governance is a model of development. It is a model of quick development, inclusive and all round development," Modi added.
BJP workers are becoming voice of the people, even if it means withstanding the brutality of political violence, he said.
To a question from a party worker about how the party can expand its base in the southern state, he said they should make people's voice heard and then people will hear their voices.
He recalled former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's saying that a BJP worker should have his one foot in "rail"- a reference to his willingness to travel frequently- and another in jail so that he does not care if police put him behind bars for fighting for people.
He also referred to a number of figures to claim that the country had progressed a lot under his government.
"Earlier, the buzzword was VIP now the buzzword is EPI - Every Person is Important," he said to highlight as to how his government has focussed on the common man.
"Indian economy was among the Fragile Five before 2014. The world had turned away from India. Within four years, that perception has completely changed," he said.
Modi said India is at the forefront of setting the global narrative today, adding that when a nation of 130 crore people speaks, its voice is heard.