A day after he broke down addressing newly elected BJP MPs in Parliament, Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi again got emotional as he delivered his last address in the Gujarat assembly before resigning as the chief minister and MLA on Wednesday. He sought forgiveness for any shortcoming or mistake he may have committed “knowingly or unknowingly”.
“Forgive me if I have done anything wrong. If there was any shortcoming in my conduct or fault in my work then — to my present and past colleagues — this is the moment of Michchami Dukkadam,” Modi said, his voice choking with emotion, as he referred to the term used by Jains for seeking forgiveness at the end of a rigorous fasting period called Paryushan.
The assembly saw dramatic scenes as members, including those from the opposition Congress, in a rare gesture congratulated him and wished him luck for his new role as the Prime Minister.
“My success lies in how you take forward this journey of development. And I am confident that Gujarat will surge ahead after me,” said Modi.
Interestingly, he referred to Congress repeatedly as “saathi paksh” or friendly side — instead of “virodhi paksh” or opposition — and said the bonhomie in the assembly on Wednesday was a fine example of the Gujarat model. “When I was first came, Amarsinhbhai (Chaudhary) would tell me — Narendrabhai you will face problems here, be warned. He was the opposition leader, and he did not need to warn me,” he said.
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Modi said he had carried out some reforms in the functioning of the assembly, where instead of the opposition and ruling parties being pitted against other, “parties work together” for the uplift of the people.
He spoke against “individual centred institutions” and also said that CAG reports should not be used as mere instruments to indulge in political blame-game. “The CAG report should not merely be used for political blame-game but used to find solutions and correct mistakes,” he said.
He acknowledged opposition leader Shankersinh Vaghela, with whom he earlier exchanged hugs, saying, “What will happen to his party I don’t know but he listed out what all works were left pending by this government.”
Reffering to his long association with Vaghela, Modi said, “Now he can proudly claim that the country’s Prime Minister rode his Bullet. There is no district where we have not gone on his motorcycle. We were such good friends, even before I got into politics.”
On his assuming a bigger national role, Modi said: “It is natural that the people of Gujarat have a right over me but this is a national responsibility…. This dilemma is there, but it doesn’t mean that injustice to Gujarat should be allowed. I will try that Gujarat doesn’t face injustice…. No corner of the country should feel that other part is being favoured.”
On a lighter note, he said, “Now Gujarati will be spoken in the PMO, khaman, dhokla will be served, the khakra market will grow… a man takes along a lot of things with him.”
In his speech, Vaghela recalled his days with Modi as founding members of the BJP. But he did not let go the opportunity to take a jibe as he said Modi was the second prime minister after Morarji Desai to go to the PMO via Godhra. “Morarji Desai, an ICS officer who resigned to join Gandhiji, was deputy collector of Godhra. You ( Modi) have also worked in Godhra and Vadodara. 2002 had happened in Godhra, but I do not want go into the details,” he said, referring to the riots.