New Delhi: BJP, which is trying to woo the Dalits ahead of crucial UP polls, today celebrated the birth anniversary of Maharishi Valmiki with party chief Amit Shah paying rich tributes to the poet-saint.
Addressing a function to celebrate 'Valmiki Jayanti' at the party headquarters here, Shah said the Modi government had dedicated all its schemes to dalits and the poor to help ameliorate their socio-economic conditions.
He lauded the silent role played by Maharishi Valmiki, the creater of Hindu epic Ramayana, in uplift of the Valmiki community and dalits. Shah noted that the Maharishi had said that all are equal and added that the Constitution framed by B R Ambedkar ensures that every individual gets equal rights and opportunities to move forward.
"The government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one that is working most for dalits, backwards, tribals and the poor. Take any ministry or department, you will see that the first five schemes are dedicated to the poor, dalits, backwards and the oppressed," he said.
BJP has been trying hard to reach out the dalit community ahead of crucial polls in five states slated early next year but has suffered setbacks due to a string of controversies including Rohith Vemula issue and attacks on dalits by cow vigilantes.
The party has been celebrating the legacy of dalit icon Ambedkar. Shah had also addressed the Bhikhu Dhammaviryo's Dhamma Chetna yatra in Kanpur yesterday which was attended by dalits who had converted to Buddhism.
The BJP chief today highlighted the manner in which the government has asked banks to help finance dalits for self-employment through its schemes, saying it is a big indication of the change being initiated.
"If the country continues to tread this path, then I feel the day is not far when we will be able to bring a proud and prosperous society as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi and B R Ambedkar," he said.
BJP said anyone can achieve greatness by drawing inspiration from Valmiki's life.
"Ramayana is not merely the life story of Lord Rama but is an instrument of giving the message of importance of Indian culture to the world.
"Through the Ramaayan, Maharishi Valmiki gave the message that the victory in the end will be of truth, notwithstanding how strong or clever the untruth is," he said.
Shah said Maharishi Valmiki worked silently for social harmony and the uplift of dalits all his life. "He told us that social harmony lies within the soul of Indian society. He had also said that all people are alike and one need not say this as it is embedded in the Indian culture," he said.
"Dalits, tribals, backwards, poor and youth are there in all the schemes of the BJP-led government at the Centre led by Narendra Modi," he said.
Union Minister Thawarchand Gehlot, BJP general secretary Ram Lal and incharge of BJP's SC Morcha Dushyant Gautam were also present at the function that was attended by a number of party workers.
Some eminent members of the Valmiki community who have done exemplary work were also honoured.