In his parting address to party workers and MLAs, prime minister-elect Narendra Modi, reflected on adversities like his own banishment from Gujarat and that of his Man Friday Amit Shah, as opportunities that made the BJP script the historic win in the Lok Sabha election. As if reassuring the party, he heaped praises on the new chief minister Anandi Patel saying, “Teachers may be strict, but that is only for the good of the student”.
There had been some reservations about Patel taking over as Modi’s successor, within the party, though she was seen as his natural heir apparent, she is seen as being inaccessible and stern.
Modi also took a dig at media for the speculations on his future cabinet. Speaking at the Gandhinagar Town hall soon after Anandi Patel’s declaration as his successor, Modi said, “In 1995, because of internal strife in our party I had to leave Gujarat. The Congressmen were very happy, so happy…Haish (expression of relief). A respected leader had told the Congress leaders back then – you might rejoice Modi’s banishment from Gujarat but nothing will come out of this—the Congress did not understand. From 1995 to 2001 I went to Haryana, Himachal, Punjab, Jammu &Kashmir, Chandigarh…(smiles…) same thing they did to Amitbhai…Look what the CBI set out to do, and look what happened! Now if they see Amitbhai’s photo…(laughs and trails off) They had no idea that if a man sets out with a mission, he can accomplish anything”.
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Patting his back for running a peaceful tenure in Gujarat, Modi said, “I remember how Rupalaji’s would inquire before setting out anywhere, if there was curfew…so many agitations…the back pages of newspapers would be full of images of police lathi charge, people running away, the fear of the government…today…I think if a major agitation breaks out, the Gujarat police would not even be able to handle it, because they have forgotten how to… no shooting…no lathicharge…no teargas… the common man looks satisfied and has faith”.
Modi has used this argument that there have been no curfews or communal riots in the last 12 years, to defend himself against the blame for the 2002 riots. “I am not sure if the national analysts have the ability to look at all this, but at the right time this will be evaluated”, Modi said. Not sparing the media, Modi said, “You have seen how the media has formed 8-10 cabinets, every channel has it’s own cabinet…Narendra Modi’s cabinet is yet not formed…they have declared so many ministers, allotted departments, cited reasons for allotting those departments…now the question is…whether even all of them put together will be correct at all… In any case they have made my task easier… Just send me copies of these reports”.
Modi said that he got the opportunity to serve as the longest chief minister for 4,600 days, and claimed he had left no file pending. Reflecting on his four terms as chief minister Modi said, “A person like me who had no favourable caste, no family background and no experience of elections or administration…yet the common Gujarati only had this longing for development and good governance…”.
Urging the workers to never take short cuts, Modi claimed that since 2007, he had done only one thing “to prepare leadership for the next 20 years”. “All this victory may have been credited to my account but this is not Narendra Modi’s alone”, he said adding that now Gujarat had been readied “from the pancyahat to parliament”. “This is not a small thing…Just imagine, 14 states and six union territories, became totally Congress mukt…can you imagine the feeling?”, he said. Full of sarcasm, Modi said, “Now lets talk chai…Did anybody think of a tea revolution? The Congress had made fun of this chaiwala, look…the chaiwala has stood up before you”.
Praising Anandiben, Modi said, “According to me, this is Gujarat’s first CM who is a gold medalist in MSc and that too from a time when the society was so conservative”. He said that she was the senior most minister and has been a minister since 16-17 years, right from the time Keshubhai Patel was CM and handled ten ministries.