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My government's only religion is 'India first': PM

My governments only religion is India first: PM

New Delhi: Breaking his silence in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday denounced communalism and asserted that his government stood for unity wherein all religions prosper within the framework of the Constitution.

"My government's only religion is 'India first', my government's only religious book is 'Indian Constitution', our only devotion is 'Bharat Bhakti' and our only prayer is 'welfare of all'," he said in Lok Sabha while replying to a debate on President's Address.

He declared that as the Prime Minister, it was his "responsibility" not to allow "anaap shanap (ridiculous) comments in the name of religion.

"Nobody has the right to discriminate on the basis of religion... "No one has the right to take law into his hands," the Prime Minister said.

"Communalism for political reasons has destroyed the country. Hearts have been broken," Modi said, asking why questions are being "posed to us".

Insisting that "We want all religions to prosper", the Prime Minister said it is possible only in India under its Constitution which has been prepared with the thinking of thousands of years of the country's history.

"This nation full of diversity. We are for unity in diversity, not disunity. All religions should flourish. It is the uniqueness of India because of its Constitution," he said.

"We want to take the nation forward within the framework of the Constitution," Modi said, adding he saw only the "tricolor" and "no other colour".

Referring to his slogan of 'sabka saath, sabka vikas', he said he sought the cooperation of the opposition also for the benefit of the country.

The Prime Minister, who has come under attack from opposition for remaining silent on controversial communal and divisive remarks made by some BJP and Sangh parivar leaders, said the nation has to work collectively for its progress.

During his over 70-minute speech, he dwelt upon MNREGA, black money, corruption and coal block allocations besides the steps like empowerment of states to strengthen federalism, cleanliness drive and Jan Dhan as part of good governance.

"Let us find solutions to problems which are old and we have inherited," he said.

Responding to criticism that he was mostly talking about small things, Modi said he believes that "small things are the root cause of big problems."
He took a dig at the opposition over rumours that MNREGA scheme was being stopped.

"You may say that I do not have wisdom in some areas... But at least I do have some political wisdom...How can I shut down this scheme? ... MNREGA is a living example of your failures," he said, taking a dig at Congress.

Modi said he does not wish to claim that whatever has been done was done only in the last nine months, since his government came to power. He said he was ready to give credit to previous governments where due.

"We do not believe that the country was born in 1947, it has been there for thousands of years. Ideologies come and go.”

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