Prime Minister Narendra Modi said political and ideological differences should be set aside for the sake of national goals, asserting that politics can wait but development cannot.
Addressing the centenary celebrations of Aligarh Muslim University, he said development should not be seen through the political prism. Without elaborating, he said some elements driven by self-interest and negativity are bound to feel uneasy when everyone comes together to achieve common goals.
“We have to understand that politics is an important aspect of society. But in society there are also issues other than politics,” Modi said in the speech delivered through video conference to a university he called a “mini-India”.
He said there is space beyond ‘siyasat' (politics) and ‘satta' (power), which should be explored by campuses like AMU.
“It is natural to have differences in society,” he said. “But when the issue is securing national goals, these differences should be set aside.”
He listed economic development, education, standard of living and nationalism (rastravaad) among the common goals. “These are some of the issues on which we cannot differ in the name of our political or ideological (vaicharik) compulsions.”
This was the first time in over five decades that a prime minister participated in an AMU event, after Lal Bahadur Shastri attended one in 1964.
The PM's address also comes against the backdrop of sporadic protest by AMU students in past months over issues like the new Citizenship Amendment Act, and the targeting of the campus by some BJP leaders.
Modi stressed on development and said it should not be seen through the prism of politics.
“When we come together for this goal, it is possible that some elements feel uneasy. Such elements are found in every society in the world. These are people who have self-interests and to fulfil them they can adopt any device and all types of negativity,” the PM said.
But the space occupied by such people will shrink when the goal is to make a new India, he said.
“Politics can wait, society can wait. But the country' development cannot wait,” he said.
Modi said the poor, the poor, the deprived and the youth do not want to wait any longer. “We should not waste time in ‘matbhed’ (differences) and move forward on a common ground to build a new India, that is ‘Atmanirbar Bharat’,” he said, stressing on “self reliance”.
Modi lauded the AMU's 100-yearold heritage, recalling the contribution of its alumni.
“We have to unitedly work to ensure that the feeling of 'Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat' (One India, Great India) gets strengthened day by day on the AMU campus,” he said.