Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday accused the Congress of dividing the society for the benefit of one family and asserted that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) believed in spreading happiness and uniting people.
His remarks came against the backdrop of the exodus of north Indian workers from Gujarat for which the saffron party has blamed its Congress.
During an interaction with BJP workers of five Lok Sabha constituencies via video conferencing, Modi also took a swipe at the opposition over its efforts to form a "mahagathbandhan" against the BJP.
"Leave the concerns of the mahagathbandhan (the grand alliance). Those who are out on bail are forced to come together to find the way to save themselves. They are not assembling for the benefit of the people; but for the sole purpose of removing Modi," he said responding to a query about the alliance.
With assembly elections scheduled in five states this year, Modi claimed it was not a matter of ego for his party to defeat others but an opportunity to serve people.
"When you try and connect everything to elections, like unveiling the statue of Sir Chhotu Ram or Swachh Bharat Mission, it reduces the importance of the event," he said, adding the BJP was doing social service and would continue doing it.
"We are those who spread happiness to bring pleasure in everyone's life, while others divide the society for benefit of one family. We believe in uniting and they prefer to divide the people. The power to unite is always greater than the power to divide," Modi said.
He said the BJP always stayed in touch with the people and common man on the ground.
"The BJP is a cadre-based party. The workers' feedback is important for the government and the party. That is why we are successful in extending the benefits of government schemes to the poor, exploited and deprived sections of the society," he said.
Modi said it was unfortunate that people who used to be in power earlier felt ashamed of the culture instead of taking pride in it.
For decades after Independence, it was believed that India was a land of snake charmers and rat catchers, and the worst was that the political outfit which ruled the country for decades promoted these ridiculous things, he alleged.
"You must have seen a photograph of our former prime minister with a foreign dignitary while a snake charmer played pungi. Is our self-respect so low," Modi asked party workers.
The prime minister was interacting with party workers picked from five Lok Sabha constituencies in the run up to 2019 general elections on the theme of "mera booth sabse majboot" (my booth is the strongest).
The workers who attended the exercise today were from --Raipur, Mysore, Damoh, Karauli-Dholpur and Agra.
(With inputs from agencies.)