New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of non-discrimination and equality during the Diwali Milan function for mediapersons Saturday.
The PM’s brief address was in line with the BJP’s changed approach to the Opposition in Parliament. “Celebrating a festival gives direction as well as strength to the society. I can’t imagine the number of stories that can be churned if we sit to analyse the impact of our festivals in our society. If you take the Kumbh Mela for example, a number of people come, it is like a nation has come, and assembles by the Ganga every day — that is (how many) people gather at the event. This signifies strength,” the PM said. “The festival of lights (Deep Parva) is also a part of it. There is no discrimination in it. It also strengthens the value of equality,” he said.
Modi said he was planning to hold the function earlier, but for his busy schedule. “Had it not been done now, one may have had to wait till Christmas,” he quipped.
Welcoming the PM and other guests, including editors and owners of media houses, BJP chief Amit Shah referred to the two-day debate in Parliament to commemorate the Constitution Day and B R Ambedkar’s125th birth anniversary. “Parliament has unanimously taken the spirit of the Constitution to a new height. Our effort will be to take this spirit down the line to people and make even the weakest person in the society aware of the Constitutional rights by next year along with the help of all parties and media,” Shah said.
After a brief speech, Modi left the dais to mingle with mediapersons. Things were smooth till he reached the middle rows. A woman journalist took out her camera and tried to take a selfie with the PM, who happily indulged. What followed was a virtual retake of the first Diwali Milan at the BJP headquarters last year, with Modi posing for selfies with journalists.
When BJP MP Anurag Thakur tried to ease the crowd, asking those who had already taken photos to come back, Modi intervened.
“He asked me not to stop anyone. He said let them take it again if they were not happy with the first one,” Thakur said.
Those who did not join the crowd gathered around Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Smriti Irani for “informal chats”.
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