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True ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ only if last man is benefited: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

New Delhi: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat today gave thumbs up to the Modi government’s slogan of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’, but said its real test would be when the poorest of the poor get its benefits.

He also stressed on the need to ensure that development and environment go hand in hand. In an apparent message to the government, the RSS Sarsanghchalak said development of one section should not come at the cost of neglecting the other as “vikas” has to be a broad-based phenomenon.

Delivering the 7th Nanaji Deshmukh memorial lecture here on indigenous model of development, Bhagwat said while India never attacks anyone, it is capable of defending itself.

Referring to the ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ slogan, he said it is a “religious” slogan, but religion in this case should not be confused with its “modern connotations” which make it a very tricky issue.

He said religion is something which prompts a person to do his or her duty. He also said religion helps strike a balance so that everyone goes along together.

He said the true test for the slogan would be when the fruits of development reach the last man in queue. He said Sangh visionary Deen Dayal Upadhyay, and Mahatma Gandhi talked of ‘antodaya’ or the development of the last person.

The RSS head also stressed on the need to have development and environment on the same page like “friends”. His remarks on environment assume significance as the government has often stressed that environmental concerns and development projects have to go together.

Some activists have alleged that environment and ecology are being compromised for development.

Bhagwat said, to get the fruits of development people have to put in hard work. Similarly, to win elections politicians have to work hard so that they have an impressive report card.

He said people do not “press button” (of EVM) to vote without going through the work of politicians in the past five years.

The Sangh chief was also critical of developed nations, which according to him, had forced their model of development on the rest of the world.

He said while Indian model of development based on its ethos and culture has been worth emulating, it has to be remastered after every few years based on circumstances.

Senior journalist Rajat Sharma also spoke on the occasion and recalled how Deshmukh had made Jayaprakash Narayan join the students’ movement in 1974.

—PTI