Contending that the definition of secularism has been distorted, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday invoked Jan Sangh ideologue, Deendayal Upadhyay, to say that Muslims should be treated as "your own" rather than seeing them as "items of vote market".
Addressing the BJP Council meeting, he said his government's mission of 'sabka sath, sabka vikas' is not a political slogan but a commitment to ensure the welfare of the last man in the society.
In his speech, Modi spoke at length about secularism, balanced and inclusive growth and need for electoral reforms while paying tributes to Upadhyay on his 100th birth anniversary.
"These days, the definition has been distorted. Even nationalism is cursed these days," he said.
While talking about life and contribution of Upadhyay, Modi quoted him as saying, "don't reward nor rebuke Muslims. Empower them. They are not items of vote market nor are they substance of hate. Treat them as your own."
At the conclusion of the two-day BJP conclave here aimed at making inroads in Kerala, the prime minister traced the party's journey from the days of Jan Sangh and asserted that "We never compromised with our ideology".
He said if the BJP had compromised with the ideology, it could have attained power long back.
Paying tributes to Jan Sangh ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya, prime minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asked if politicians today can change Indian politics by following his ideals.
"Through our thinking and conduct, can we change people's perception towards politicians? Can we become symbols of the ideals of Pandit Deendayal?" Modi said in his address at the Bharatiya Janata Party's National Council meeting.
He said that Upadhyaya gave the mantra that the Indian politics should be rooted in Indian culture.
PM Modi calls for electoral reforms
Reissuing his call for electoral reforms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said it was imperative to strengthen democracy.
"I think this is time to bring about electoral reforms. In the centenary year of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, we can organise seminars across the country on electoral reforms," Modi said.
"At least we should start brainstorming the issue, and we will see what amrit (nectar) will come out of this churning," he said.
"To strengthen the roots of democracy, we will have to bring about electoral reforms, we will have to add a few new things, have to delete a few obsolete things from the electoral procedures," he said.
He said that even members from other political parties have been asking him to bring about electoral reforms, but it would be better if changes emerged after thorough brainstorming.
This is at least the third time in as many months that the prime minister has called for electoral reforms, including simultaneous parliamentary and state assembly elections, in the country.
India to ratify Paris Climate Change agreement on 2 October
India will ratify the Paris Climate Change agreement on October 2, Modi said on Sunday in a sudden announcement that will give momentum to implementation of measures at international level to control global warming.
"There is one work left in the CoP21 (Conference of Parties). Ratification is yet to be done and India too is yet to do it. Today on the birth anniversary of Deen Dayal Upadhyay, I announce that India will ratify the decisions on 2 October, the birth anniversary of mahatma Gandhi," he said.
Modi said he had chosen the date, which is next Sunday, as Mahatma Gandhi's life was an example of minimum carbon footprint.
During the Paris climate meet in December last, more than 190 nations had agreed on setting ambitious goals for capping global warming and funnelling trillions of dollars to poor countries facing climate catastrophe.
The pact will come into force after it is ratified by at least 55 countries that account for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Talking about the need to ratify the COP21 decision, Modi said there is a looming threat due to global warming to many coastal countries and cities. Even Kerala, where the conclave was being held, is also a coastal area.
While Western countries, including the US, had been supporting an early ratification of the pact, India had been seeking more time to complete its national processes as it fears that any hasty decision may impact its developmental projects.
With inputs from IANS and PTI