Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that caste backing or a dynastic background were not necessary to succeed in public life. He said he had been given the opportunity to serve as Chief Minister of Gujarat and then as Prime Minister of the country even though he had no political or dynastic background or the support of a caste group.
He said that hard work and honest effort led to his success in public life and helped him get the blessings of people.
“I was a common man without any political or dynastic background and no support of caste-based politics. Despite that, your blessings gave me the opportunity to serve Gujarat way back in 2001,” he said.
“And, such is the power of your blessings that even after 20 years, I am still serving. First I served the people of Gujarat and now I am serving the country,” Mr. Modi said.
The Prime Minister was speaking after laying the foundation stone virtually for a hostel complex for boys on the outskirts of Surat in Gujarat. The hostel is being constructed by the Saurashtra Patel Seva Samaj, a community welfare body of the Patidar community in Surat.
Mr. Modi also exhorted the gathering, mostly of Patidar community leaders and members, to walk on the path shown by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who had practised the politics of development without encouraging caste or communalism.
“Sardar Patel had said that we should not let castes and religious faith become a hindrance for us. We are all sons and daughters of India and we all should love our country. We all should love each other,” Mr. Modi said.
During his speech, he praised the people of Gujarat who always believed in strengthening Sardar Patel’s teachings. He also recalled the contributions of reformers and educationists from the Patidar community in Gujarat who played a vital role in setting up institutions of learning in the State.
He recalled the likes of Bhai Kaka, who set up a special town Vallabh Vidhyanagar for education where several colleges under the Sardar Patel University were set up in central Gujarat. Other educationists like Sankalchand Patel, Ganpat Patel and Chaganbhai Patel also created institutions for imparting education in rural areas in various parts of the State, he said.
In the education field, the Prime Minister talked about two initiatives his government had taken while he was the Chief Minister in the State. School enrolment drive in rural areas and building of toilets in schools had helped curbing the dropout rate of girl students, he said.
The Prime Minister also appreciated Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, who took charge in September.
Mr. Modi said he knew the Chief Minister for 25 years and he was aware of his work in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation where he had served in the school board, transport committee and standing committees and had also been chairman of the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA).
“I am sure that under Bhupendrabhai, the State will see renewed efforts for development and progress,” he said.