Prime Minister Narendra Modi had perhaps his biggest setback in the recent national election in Kerala, where the Bharatiya Janata Party drew a blank despite a overwhelming response across the country. State BJP leaders have often accused regional media houses of unjustly attacking the right-wing party and language barriers of its Hindi-speaking national leaders, creating a negative sentiment.
On Friday, when the Prime Minister was invited to inaugurate a conclave by Manorama News, his first such event in Kerala, Modi chose to acknowledge the sentiment and precisely pushed the Malayalees to be more tolerant to himself and his ideas. “My participation in this event has generated a curiosity”, Modi said, attending the event from Delhi via video conference.
“Here I am, at a forum where perhaps I do not have many whose thought process is similar to mine but there are enough thinking people whose constructive criticism is something I greatly look forward to,” the Prime Minister said.
“Usually, it is believed that public figures prefer to be on forums whose thought process matches with the person’s own world view. Because there is a lot of comfort in being among such people. Of course, I also love being among such surroundings, but at the same time, I believe there must be a constant and continuous dialogue between individuals and organisations irrespective of one’s thought process,” he added.
“We need not have to agree on everything but there must be enough civility in public life for differing streams to be able to hear each other’s point of view,” he said.
The Prime Minister also requested media houses to play the bridge between India’s several languages. Incidentally, Kerala’s two other dominant parties, the Congress and the communists, have often characterised the BJP as a party of the Hindi-speaking belt, doing politics around the native Malayalam language.