Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday exhorted BJP workers to be the ambassadors of the government and reach out to the people at the grassroots with his “pro-poor” schemes ahead of the February-March assembly polls in five states, including in politically significant Uttar Pradesh.

Addressing the BJP National Executive meet here, Modi said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) doesn’t see poor and underprivileged as vote banks because for the party “service to poor is like serving God”, according to Law and Justice and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who briefed the media on the Prime Minister’s closed door address.

“The poor aren’t means for the BJP to win elections, and the party doesn’t see them through prism of vote bank politics. My government’s priority is to change their quality of life,” Modi said.

Prasad said Modi emphasised on the importance of reaching out to the people at the booth level and called on party workers to educate the poor and marginalised sections of the society about the various welfare schemes launched by the union government.

“Modi said he himself comes from a poor family, has seen poverty. So, his government is committed to work for the development of the poor and underprivileged,” the minister said.

“The Prime Minister told party workers that more the effort at booth level, better is the result of the polls.”

The Prime Minister also asked party leaders not to seek poll tickets for their family members.

Modi hailed the poor for their support to the government’s note ban that has created an unprecedented cash crunch in the country and also caused an economic upheaval.

“Modi…has seen the strength of the people of India during demonetisation, which the people supported (despite) facing hardships,” Prasad said.

The minister said that the Prime Minister lauded the people’s “determination to fight against the ills of the society from their inner heart”.

“Modiji said he himself appealed to the nation to support demonetisation and they supported it.”

The Prime Minister also urged his party workers not to get disheartened by the anti-demonetisation campaign and allegations by the opposition.

He told them that “they should welcome criticism…Our inner strength will help us in moving on the path of truth.”

The Prime Minister also talked at length about financing of political parties and said the BJP would play an important role in ensuring that there was transparency in identifying the sources funding them.

“An important thing that the Prime Minister talked in the meeting was the need to bring in transparency in the political process. When the country is embracing a culture of transparency, there is also a need for transparency in funding of political parties,” Prasad said.

He said the Prime Minister also lauded the Election Commission and Supreme Court’s observations on bringing transparency in election funding.

Speaking at the meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley termed the November 8 demonetisation as a “historic” and “bold” move towards the welfare of the poor that also dealt a crippling blow to terror funding and fake currency note racket.

Jaitley, who presented the party’s economic resolution, said the demonetisation decision was taken because the Modi government “is visionary and committed about its promises made before coming to power”, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

“The demonetisation move closed the lifeline of terror funding and fake currency. Demonetisation was a crippling blow to terror, fake currency note racket and insurgency.”