Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that this year's Vijaya Dashami is "very special" for the country, an apparent reference to the Army's surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control, even as he stressed that a "very capable" armed forces is a must for a strong nation.
"We will celebrate Vijaya Dashami in the coming days. This year's Vijaya Dashami is very special for the country," he said, evoking a thunderous applause from the audience at a function at Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi.
His remarks came in the backdrop of Indian Army's surgical strikes in PoK. He also gave his best wishes to the people on the occasion of the festival that marks victory of good over evil.
The prime minister released a compendium of 15 books on the life and teachings of former Jana Sangh chief Deendayal Upadhyay whose birth centenary year is being celebrated by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Modi said Upadhyay's biggest contribution was the concept of organisation-based political party and not a political outfit run by a handful of individuals.
Quoting Upadhyay, the prime minister stressed on the need for an exceptionally strong military as a prerequisite for a strong nation and said the country must be a capable one which is a present-day requirement.
"He (Upadhyay) used to say that the country's armed forces should be very very capable, then only the nation can be strong," Modi said.
"In this time of competitiveness, the need is that the nation should be capable and strong," he said.
In a veiled reference to Pakistan, Modi said, "Being strong does not mean being against anyone. If we exercise for our strength, then the neighbour need not worry (thinking) that it is to target him. I am exercising to strengthen myself and for my health."
Referring to Upadhyay, he said even Ram Manohar Lohia spoke about the Jana Sangh leader's efforts that led to the evolution of an alternative to Congress in 1967.
The prime minister said that as a tribute to Upadhyay, who talked of integral humanism, his government was making the poorest of the poor the focus of schemes evolved by it.
"In a short span of time, one party completed the journey from vipaksh to vikalp and this was due to foundations laid by Deendayalji," he said, adding that simplicity was the hallmark of the former Jana Sangh leader.
Lauding the ideology of Upadhyay, Modi said he gave impetus to karyakarta nirman (building party workers) and the workers inspired by him were party-centric and the party nation-centric.
He said at the core of Upadhyay's thoughts were the poor, the villages, the farmers, the dalits and the marginalised and that is why this government is laying focus on such sections during the centenary year celebration.
"The poor is the central point of Panditji's entire thinking. He used to say that the poor should be the central point of every thing. That is why in this journey towards development, our government is focussing on the poor and to help empower it.
"This government is celebrating Panditji's centenary as gareeb kalyan varsh. Because of that government decisions focus on the poor and poor-centric schemes and policies are evolved. I am confident that there will be no shortcoming in this journey," he said.
BJP president Amit Shah and RSS' second-in-command Suresh Bhayyaji Joshi spoke on the need for strengthening India's security with Joshi saying that India's pursuit for national security was inspired by the need to defend itself rather than to defeat others.