After being tacitly warned by the priest of the Swaminarayan temple in Vadtal that BJP did not perform well in the rural areas in the just concluded Assembly elections, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Tuesday said his government has to win the hearts of the people and he will do his duty as per raj dharma.
“Yes, we have won the elections, but we have to win the hearts of the people. We are not the rulers of Gujarat, but the servants of the people. CM means Chief Minister, but CM also means common man. It means to fulfil the aspirations and expectations of the common man,” Rupani said after offering prayers at the temple before assuming charge of his office.
Earlier, welcoming the CM, Maharaj Ghanshyam Prasad Das, the priest of the Swaminarayan temple who had appealed the devotees of the sect to vote for the BJP in the elections, warned him that his government was “yet to win the hearts” of the rural voters, especially the farmers.
“When Vijaybhai (Rupani) saheb came before the elections to seek blessings, our Acharya saheb tied a rakshasutra on him. I had told saheb that he must not remove the thread until the elections as it will bring him victory. And it did bring him victory. He has won the elections, but now he has to win the hearts of the people. I told him that urban seats are not a problem, but we have to preserve the rural areas, the farmers. The villagers are very close to us (the sect) spiritually, and they are aware that we are close to you. So, the farmers have made a petition that we must convey to you,” he said.
While BJP had won 99 seats, after sweeping the urban areas, the main opposition Congress bagged 77 seats, predominantly in the rural areas.
Rupani, who also laid the foundation stone for a new bus station in the pilgrim town of Kheda district, assured to bring “fast track” development during his “full term” as chief minister. “I am certain that Gujarat will face no problem in the next five years… The development will go on uninterrupted,” he said.
Rupani said that while he took “several decisions” in his brief stint as chief minister in the previous government, he was looking forward to the full five-year term as chief Minister. “We will have conversation, and not controversies. I got only one and a half years in the first term. Now, I have full five-year term. So, the decisions will be taken in fast track mode and Gujarat will see much more development in the next five years. I pray that the government will be sensitive, compassionate, decisive and will keep vikas (development) as its motto. We will make the 6.5 crore Gujaratis one, above caste and creed. We will conduct politics of dharma —I am not talking about religion, but raj dharma of justice, transparency and fairness. That will bring about Ram rajya that Mahatma Gandhi had envisioned,” he said.
Later in an official release from the state government, Rupani announced that Vadtal, the supreme pilgrim centre of Swaminarayan sect, will soon be included in the list of Pavitra Yatra Dhams of the state. The Vadtal Swaminarayan temple belongs to the Lakshmi Narayan Dev diocese of the sect.