New Delhi: Breaking his silence on the recent communal tension in Dadri in western Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked Hindus and Muslims to fight poverty rather than each other.

Making a campaign speech in Bihar, Modi also said that some political parties and leaders were making irresponsible statements and advised people to follow the direction shown by President Pranab Mukherjee who stressed India’s diversity in remarks made on Wednesday.

“I have already said that we should decide whether Hindus have to fight against Muslims or against poverty. I said the same to Muslims," Modi said, referring to a 2014 public meeting in Patna that was rocked by bomb blasts.

Speaking just days after a Muslim man was killed and his son injured by Hindu mobs in Dadri village, President Mukherjee said on Wednesday that India’s core values of “diversity, tolerance, endurance and plurality" cannot be allowed to be wasted.

Modi, who has been criticised by opposition parties for not condemning the Dadri killing, on Thursday urged people not to listen to the speeches of political leaders who he said were making irresponsible statements.

“I appeal to citizens not to take them seriously. Even if Narendra Modi himself says something like that, don’t listen to him. If you want to listen, then hear the speech of President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday. There can be no bigger thought than that. President has shown us the way, and we have to walk on that path. Only then will we be able to live up to the expectations of the world," he said.

Meanwhile, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar accused Modi of introducing “communal texture" to the Bihar assembly polls.

“The real Modi on display, brazen attempt to add communal texture to Bihar polls, but deafening silence on deplorable incidence of Dadri. All to see why (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee was forced to remind him to follow Raj Dharma, but wonder who will do the Vajpayee today?" Kumar tweeted.

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