Growth of narrow, sectarian ideologies need to be stopped: PM

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said "narrow and sectarian ideologies" would weaken democracy and their growth needs to be prevented, in remarks seen as a veiled attack on Narendra Modi's style of politics ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
 
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of historic Red Fort on the 67th Independence Day, he enlisted the measures taken by the UPA government over the last 10 years to make the nation prosperous and stable and said the people need to decide in which direction the country should go in the next decade.
 
"There can be no place for narrow and sectarian ideologies in a modern, progressive and secular country. Such ideologies divide out society and weaken our democracy. We should prevent them from growing," he said.
 
Though Singh did not mention anyone directly, he was apparently referring to Modi whom BJP is virtually projecting as its face for the next Lok Sabha elections but Congress sees him as a "divisive" figure.
 
"We need to strengthen those traditions of our country which teach us to promote tolerance and respect for thought processes different from ours. I would appeal to all political parties, all sections of our society and the public at large to work in this direction," the Prime Minister said.
 
He said there was a need to build an environment of political stability, social cohesion and security to ensure that the country continues to progress and gets rid of poverty, disease and ignorance.
 
"Our India will be prosperous and all its citizens will be equal partners in this prosperity, irrespective of their religion, caste, region or language," he said.
 
In his 30-minute speech, Singh spoke on a host of issues including relations with Pakistan against the backdrop of recent killing of five Indian soldiers on the Line of Control in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir.
 
In a strong message to Pakistan, he said anti-India activities emanating from there will have to stop for relations to improve and asserted that all steps will be taken to prevent "dastardly" acts like the recent killing of jawans on the LoC.