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PM Modi Invoking Socialist Icons JP, Nanaji Deshmukh Ahead of Bihar Polls Might be More than a Birth Anniversary Tribute

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar with PM Narendra Modi.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar with PM Narendra Modi.

Political observers believe that ahead of Bihar elections, it may be an attempt to appropriate the identity of Narayan pertaining to land reforms, poverty alleviation and anti-emergency.

PM Modi on Sunday paid tributes to socialist icon Jayaprakash Narayan and RSS stalwart Nanaji Deshmukh on their birth anniversary, saying India is proud that legends like them were born in this land.

In an online video conference, Modi had the two leaders on the backdrop. Political observers believe that ahead of Bihar elections, it may be an attempt to appropriate the identity of Narayan pertaining to land reforms, poverty alleviation and anti-emergency. PM Modi’s reference to the three protégé of the largest socialist movement in north India comes at a time when Lalu, Nitish and Paswan, are no more in the driving seat.

On the other hand, Nanaji Deshmukh after quitting politics in 1980 set up alternative rural development models based on traditional knowledge in the remote areas of Gonda and Chitrakoot in UP and MP respectively. Deshmukh was awarded the ‘Bharat Ratna’ posthumously.

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His contributions in the field of rural development and social transformation were carried forward by the Deendayal Research Institute (DRI), which has now expanded its work to many more states.

Nanaji was known for his journey within the RSS, his role during the Emergency, fight against corruption and is regarded as the one of the few who implemented the Gandhian way of life.

Today is a day to rededicate ourselves towards fulfilling their vision for the nation, Modi tweeted.

“I bow to Loknayak JP on his Jayanti. He valiantly fought for India’s freedom and when our democratic ethos was under attack, he led a strong mass movement to protect it. For him, there was nothing above national interest and people"s welfare," the PM Modi said in his tributes to Narayan, the face of the anti-Emergency movement.

Praising Deshmukh, Modi said, “The great Nanaji Deshmukh was one of Loknayak JP"s most devout followers. He worked tirelessly to popularise JP’s thoughts and ideals. His own work towards rural development motivates us. Remembering Bharat Ratna Nanaji Deshmukh on his Jayanti."

While Jayaprakash Narayan, popularly known as JP, was born on this day in 1902 while Deshmukh was born on October 11 in 1916.

“I bow to Loknayak JP on his Jayanti. He valiantly fought for India’s freedom and when our democratic ethos was under attack, he led a strong mass movement to protect it. For him, there was nothing above national interest and people’s welfare," Modi in a tweet said.

JP was one of the prominent faces of the Quit India Movement and is remembered for leading the mid-1970s opposition against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, for whose overthrow he had called for a “total revolution".

After the emergency, the Janata Party was voted into power and became the first non-Congress party to form a government at the Centre under his guidance.

He was posthumously awarded India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, in 1999. The Prime Minister, in a subsequent tweet, said that Nanaji Deshmukh’s work in the field of rural development was a source of motivation for him.

“The great Nanaji Deshmukh was one of Loknayak JP’s most devout followers. He worked tirelessly to popularise JP’s thoughts and ideals. His own work towards rural development motivates us. Remembering Bharat Ratna Nanaji Deshmukh on his Jayanti," he said.

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