As Gujarat awaits a new chief minister, prime minister-designate Narendra Modi in his farewell address Tuesday at Maninagar which has been electing him since 2002 as MLA, chose to heap praises on his Man Friday Amit Shah stating that he single handledy won more seats for the BJP than what the rival Congress party did in 30-odd states.
“Our Amitbhai has won more seats in UP than the entire Congress that contested in 30 states. On one side we have the Congress and on the other side we have Amitbhai’s Uttar Pradesh. This is a fine example of what a Gujarati can do, no matter where he goes,” said Modi speaking in Gujarati from a podium where Amit Shah and Anandiben Patel — a front runner for Gujarat CM’s chair — were seated side-by-side. Shah and Patel are seen as bitter rivals though they are both close to Modi.
At the Ahmedabad airport, when Modi arrived from Delhi with Shah, Anandiben was there to welcome him, though she exchanged no words with Shah.
Modi said that Amit Shah has shown how a “small or a big worker” from Gujarat can do wonders. The crowd that had turned up in large numbers to hear Modi after the BJP’s first single handed win in an election powered by Modi, rooted for Amit Shah as the next CM of the state by chanting, “CM, CM, CM..” as Modi praised Gujarat’s former minister of state for home Amit Shah
In an emotional and conversational speech where Modi repeatedly addressed the crowd as ‘Bhaiyo-Behno’, Modi thanked the people of his constituency for electing him thrice since 2002 and for “casting 75 percent of the votes” in his favour. “I have been given a new responsibility today and so I have come here to bid farewell and seek your blessings,” Modi told the huge gathering that was constantly been watched over by UAVs deployed near Guruji bridge where residential buildings in the neigbourhood were lit up with coloured lights.
After the speech Modi greeted senior BJP leaders including former MP Harin Pathak who had helped campaign in Varanasi. However, Modi did not interact with Anandiben who was among the last of leaders to leave the podium.
He thanked the people of the state for helping the BPJ win in all the 26 seats. “It is not a small matter. The victory margin is in lakhs,” he said adding that the people of the state took upon the responsibility to help “Modi win” in all the seats, even though he did not visit Ahmedabad even once during the poll campaign. “This helped me to travel across the country,” Modi added. He emphasised how in this election campaign “Gujarat made a name for different reasons”. Modi has always blamed ‘pseudo-secularists’ for maligning the name of Gujarat after the 2002 riots.
“I will soon resign as the MLA of Maninagar, but none of the (development) work will halt. I will also try to get a better representative for Maninagar,” Modi told the crowd. Evoking nostalgia, he recalled the early days he spent in Maninagar where he would roam around the Kankaria on a scooter or sip tea at Jawahar chowk.
“Even though I am going, all your dreams will be fulfilled,” Modi kept on reiterating to the gathering that consisted of a large number of women and children.
He also suggeted the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to draw up a celebration plan for Maninagar that will be celebrating its centenary in 2015. Describing Maninagar as a hub of education and health service, Modi said, “Maninagar is an example of how the development mantra can bring about a change in daily lives”.