Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Central Hall of Parliament Saturday appeared to build upon his maiden speech in the same hall when he was elected for his first term five years ago.
“My government will be dedicated to the poor,” Modi had said in his maiden address to the BJP Parliamentary Party in Central Hall on May 20, 2014, before he was formally appointed Prime Minister by then President Pranab Mukherjee. On Saturday, he said: “Between 2014 and 2019 we ran a government for the poor. Now the poor have made this government.”
He expanded his 2014 call of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” to “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas aur Sabka Vishwas” as the mantra for taking India to newer heights. The goal of winning the confidence of all aspirations, sabka vishwas new in 2019 sections, besides ensuring development for all, is the product of his experience of the last five years.
If his speech of May 20, 2014 was high on the hope and promise represented by a Chief Minister who was about to become Prime Minister, his Saturday’s speech underlined the sense of responsibility of the man who has run the country for a full term.
Among the new elements that were not part of Modi’s speech five years ago were his references to regional aspirations, the promise of non-discrimination against those who had not voted for the BJP-led NDA, and a stress on the importance of coalitions for the nation’s progress.
“Ab hamara koi paraya nahin ho sakta hai… Jo vote dete hain (to the NDA), woh bhi hamare hain, jo hamara ghor virodh karte hain, woh bhi hamare hain,” he reminded NDA MPs. The minorities have been “deceived (suffered chhal)” over the years, he alleged, and asked the MPs to break this deception.
“Minorities have been deceived in the country through an imaginary fear created for the purpose of votebank politics. Humein is chhal ka vichchhed karna hai. Humein vishwas jeetna hai (we have to pierce through this deception. We have to gain trust),” Modi said.
He had not spoken about the minorities and the Opposition’s alleged votebank politics in 2014.
On Saturday, Modi acknowledged the importance of coalitions for the future of the country, and coined a new slogan — “NARA (National Ambition + Regional Aspirations)” — for taking the country forward. Though regional aspirations had figured in his 2014 campaign, he had not made a mention of it in his maiden speech. Top leaders of the Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, JDU, LJP, and AIADMK were given seats on the dais with Modi on Saturday.
Modi cautioned MPs against both “VIP culture” and the temptation of speaking out of turn, which embarrasses the party and the government. These were not part of his speech in 2014. First-time MP Sadhvi Pragya Thakur had glorified Nathuram Godse during the 2019 campaign.
Like in 2014, Modi was reverential towards party seniors, and expressed gratitude to cadres for their contribution. He was seen touching the feet of L K Advani and SAD leader Parkash Singh Badal during the customary felicitations on the dais.
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“We did not get to sacrifice in the Independence struggle, but we have got the opportunity to live for the country. Our resolve should be to dedicate ourselves for the country,” Modi had said in 2014. In 2019, he appealed to everyone to dedicate themselves to the task of nationbuilding.
He had described 2014 as an election of hope; he called the 2019 mandate a “positive vote”. Like in 2014, Modi sought to place the mandate in the global context, and said the country derived its strength from its sheer size.
He had bowed on the steps of Parliament House before entering in 2014; on Saturday, Prime Minister Modi bowed before the Constitution in Central Hall before beginning his address.
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