Hours before President Ram Nath Kovind appointed him Prime Minister for a second term, Narendra Modi Saturday urged NDA MPs to punch holes in the illusion of fear among minorities in the country saying the new government also stands for those whose trust the ruling coalition is yet to win.
In his first speech after being elected leader of the BJP-led NDA, Modi asked 353 newly elected MPs to work without any discrimination on the basis of faith and caste. “The way the poor have been cheated, the minorities have been deceived the same way. It would have been good if their education, their health had been in focus. I expect from you in 2019 that you will be able to puncture that deception. We have to earn their trust,” he said.
“We stand for those who trusted us and for those whose trust we have to win over… There is no other. Everybody is ours… I will try to win hearts.” The Prime Minister also made an addition to the Sabka saath, sabka vikas BJP campaign slogan since 2014 – “Sabka vishawas (everybody’s trust)” and said his new government’s slogan will be “nara” or “national ambition and regional aspiration”.
“We ran the government for the poor between 2014-19 and I can say the poor elected the government this time… no one can be the other – those who have voted for us or even those who have opposed us vehemently are also ours.”
In his 80-minute speech, Modi said that the election, which saw a bitter and polarised contest, has broken down the walls between the people, in an apparent reference to the massive mandate he received. “It is said that politics creates walls, differences, but the 2019 election has broken down those walls. This election has worked to unite people. It was an exercise in social unity,” he said.
His speech followed a meeting of NDA MPs including the Shiv Sena, JD (U) and Shiromani Akali Dal at Central Hall of Parliament after which BJP president Amit Shah announced, “Modi is elected the leader of the parliamentary party of 353 MPs unanimously.”
After dissolving the 16th Lok Sabha on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet, President Kovind Saturday evening appointed Modi the Prime Minister. The President asked Modi to suggest a date for the swearing-in and submit the names of the members of the Union Council of Ministers.
There is no official confirmation of the date of the swearing-in ceremony but BJP leaders indicated it could be on May 30. On Twitter, Modi said: “Will be going to Gujarat tomorrow evening, to seek blessings of my Mother. Day after tomorrow morning, I will be in Kashi to thank the people of this great land for reposing their faith in me.”
Modi also reminded his party that the emphatic mandate “adds to the responsibilities and makes them more serious”. He urged them not to go after the sense of power but attain the mentality of service. He reiterated his earlier messages against VIP culture and the display of power politics telling MPs that it would be “natural for them to feel proud” of their achievements.
“But there cannot be any vindictiveness. People’s representatives have no right to think with vindictiveness. You should be working not just for those who worked with us, but for those who will be with us in future.”
He said that they had transformed Indian politics. “This country worships honesty, this country worships hard work. This is the purity of this country,” he said. The Prime Minister also cautioned MPs against speaking to the media on every issue and asked them to observe restraint in public statements. In his first term, and during the election campaign, statements from some leaders had triggered controversy and embarrassed the party leadership.
And with speculation rife over Cabinet berths and ministerial posts, Modi said he was yet to go through details of all the NDA MPs and asked them not to trust media reports which, he said, were aimed at creating confusion and often published with “bad intentions”. Responsibilities will be given as per norms, he said.
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At Central Hall, amidst loud cheers and chants of “Modi, Modi”, the Prime Minister thanked leaders and the newly elected MPs. BJP veterans L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were also present on the dais where Modi touched the feet of Badal, Advani and Joshi seeking their blessing.
In the meeting, Shah proposed Modi’s name as BJP’s parliamentary party leader and former party presidents Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari seconded it. Following this, NDA leaders supported the proposal on his election as the leader of the coalition.
Modi also bowed before the Constitution and told new MPs that there could not be a dividing line for a people’s representative. Proceedings began with an instrumental rendition of Vande Mataram. And most MPs sang along.