In a sharp response to the violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during his speech at Ramlila ground on Sunday: "Burn Modi's effigy, but do not burn public property".
"Hate me if you want to, but don't hate India. Burn my effigy, but don't burn a poor man's auto-rickshaw," Modi said during his over-an-hour-long speech.
Modi began his speech with a new slogan: "Vividhta me ekta, Bharat ki visheshta (unity in diversity is India's essence) to the cheering crowds.
He blamed political propaganda that triggered arson and burning of public properties.
Modi said his government provided land ownership to 40 lakh people of 1,731 unauthorised colonies in Delhi. He said over 1,700 colonies have been demarcated and added that the maps for 1,200 colonies are ready.
Attacking the so-called urban naxals, the PM said they were spreading rumours that all Muslims would be sent to detention centres. "These are all lies. Respect education," he said.
Earlier, Delhi BJP Chief Manoj Tiwari welcomed the Prime Minister and thanked him for regularization of the unauthorised colonies in the national capital.
Calling the Prime Minister a 'messiah' of the poor, Tiwari said BJP never goes back on its promises.
Tiwari said Delhi also needs a government of the BJP at least for five years. He chanted Modi's name to draw cheers from the crowd.
Union MInister Prakash Javadekar said, " Delhi will go to the polls in the next 45 days. I see BJP coming to power with a full majority."
"What do you want -- development or destruction, nationalism or anarchy, anti-national slogans raised in JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) or those who would end such activities?" said Javadekar.
Member of Parliament from New Delhi, Minakshi Lekhi said, "We are not here to make India a 'Hindu Rashtra', but to keep the essence of Hindustan." She accused opposition parties of using students against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Hansraj Hans, another MP from Delhi, showered praise on the PM and sang a song.
First Published: IST