President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday appointed Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister after BJP president Rajnath Singh handed over the letter of support from 335 Lok Sabha members of the NDA. Modi will take oath as the Prime Minister on May 26.
The developments capped a day that witnessed dramatic scenes, with Modi choking with emotion during a speech to newly elected party MPs and party patriarch L K Advani hailing Modi for the “historic” victory in the elections.
Around noon, the BJP parliamentary party met at the Central Hall of Parliament and elected Modi as their leader. This was followed by leaders of NDA allies announcing their support to Modi. A delegation of senior BJP and NDA leaders, led by Rajnath Singh, then called on the President.
Subsequently, Modi reached Rashtrapati Bhawan through gate number 3, which is earmarked by protocol for the Prime Minister, Vice-President, Lok Sabha Speaker and Chief Justice of India, and met President Mukherjee.
During his speech to the BJP MPs in the Central Hall, Modi turned emotional when he referred to the absence of ailing senior party leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He said, “Had Atalji been in good health, he would have been here. It would have been the icing on the cake (sone pe suhaga).”
He then broke down as he referred to Advani’s speech, in which he said it was because of “Narendrabhai ki kripa” that the saffron parivar had achieved a clear majority in Lok Sabha. “Advaniji ne kaha ki Narendrabhai ki kripa hai. Kripa karke kripa ki baat na karein (Advaniji said Narendrabhai has done us a favour. Please don’t use the word kripa),” Modi said before breaking down in the middle of his speech. Rajnath Singh offered him a handkerchief.
Advani had made the reference while proposing Modi’s name as the BJP parliamentary party leader. He compared the BJP’s victory with historic feats like Independence and the opposition’s victory over Congress after the Emergency.
Continuing his emotional speech, Modi said, “Kya maa ki seva kabhi kirpa ho sakti hai? Katai nahin ho sakti hai. Jaise Bharat meri maa hai waise hi BJP bhi meri maa hai. Aur is liye beta kabhi maa par kirpa nahin karta, sirf samarpit bhav se maa ki sewa karta hai. (Can a son do any favour by serving the mother? Not at all. Like India, BJP is also my mother. A son never does any favour. He only serves the mother).”
He offered glowing tributes to generations of workers of the Jan Sangh and BJP and suggested that his achievement was built on the foundations laid by them and with the support from senior party leaders. “No words will be enough to express my gratitude to the hard work towards furthering nationalist thought by five generations of workers who made this historic day a reality for BJP,” Modi said. “You can see Modi not because Modi’s stature is large. You can see Modi because the party’s senior leaders hoisted me on their shoulders.” These words of solidarity with party workers and praise got BJP members sentimental.
But Modi did not lose sight of the larger responsibility being bestowed upon him and promised to leave no stone unturned for the welfare of “125 crore Indians” in his new role as the Prime Minister. He said that “if each one of 125 crore Indians stepped forward one step, the country will move forward by 125 crore steps”.
Notwithstanding his vitriolic election campaign against the outgoing Congress-led regime, Modi acknowledged the “good work” by previous regimes and promised to expand their good work. “I congratulate all previous governments and their leaders. We will take their good work ahead and work harder to fulfil people’s dreams and aspirations.”
He promised that his government will work for the uplift of poor and vulnerable sections of society.
“The government should hear from the poor and work for the poor. My government will be dedicated to the poor, youth and women. It will be a government of villages, farmers, Dalits and deprived sections. All efforts will be aimed to live up to their hopes and expectations,” Modi said.
Interestingly, there were five chairs on the podium before the parliamentary party met. However, two of the chairs were taken off later. Senior leaders Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj sat in the front row among the newly elected party MPs.
Speaking ahead of Modi, Rajnath Singh too underlined that the BJP’s victory was made possible because of support from all sections of society. “We got support from all sections of society whether it was SC/ST or others. In fact, BJP has the largest number of SC/ST members elected to the Lok Sabha,” he said, presiding over the meet.
Modi, for whom this was the first visit to the Central Hall, stepped into Parliament after paying his respect to the institution in his own fashion – by bowing at the footsteps.
Modi’s name as the BJP Parliamentary Party leader was proposed by Advani and supported by senior leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi, Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Gopinath Munde and Ravishankar Prasad – and also a clutch of leaders representing different sections of society like Kariya Munda (tribal), Thawarchand Gehlot (Dalit) and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (Muslim). Later, leaders from 29 alliance partners of the BJP joined the meeting to endorse their support to Modi.