Fresh from BJP’s landslide win in UP and Uttarakhand after a bitter and often divisive campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday talked about inclusivity and pitched for building a ‘new India’ by 2022 that would have made the nation’s founding fathers proud. Accepting felicitations from party leaders and supporters at BJP headquarters, Modi said he saw the election results, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, as the “foundation of the new India”.
“I see this victory as the foundation of a new India where 65 per cent of the population will be of young people below 35 years of age… a new India of unprecedently vigilant women.
“A new India where the poor do not want anything by way of charity, but seek opportunity to chart out their own course. I see this change happening,” he told the gathering which lapped up every word he said, amid repeated chants of ‘Modi! Modi! Modi!’
Earlier in the day, Modi tweeted, “India is emerging, which is being powered by the strength & skills of 125 crore Indians. This India stands for development.”
Modi, whose ‘crematorium and graveyard’ remark at an election rally in UP was seen as intended to polarise voters along communal lines, in a statement on his website Narendramodi.in said,” India is transforming, powered by the strength of each and every citizen of India.
“An India that is driven by innovation, hard work and creativity; an India characterized by peace, unity and brotherhood; and an India free from corruption, terrorism, black money and dirt.”
The theme of development ran through his felicitation speech too.
“Beyond the emotive issues, political parties fought shy of going to elections on the issue of development. Development is a difficult subject. In these elections, there was a lack of emotive issues, but the huge voter turnout after the campaign based on development shows the transition that his happening towards creation of a new India,” he said.
These elections must be evaluated as people have voted heavily despite the absence of any emotional issue. The poor have voted in large numbers on the topic of development, he said.
Modi, who was accused by his rivals of playing caste and religion politics during the campaign, said the BJP-led dispensation will will take everybody along as “in democracy governments are formed with a majority but run with consensus”.
Noting that the government has no right to discriminate against anybody, Modi said, “This government is of those who have voted for it and also those who have not. Of those who have walked along, and also of those who have not.”
“Everybody will join in the making of a new India,” he said.
Having shown his characteristic aggression while stumping, Modi made a fervent pitch for humility.
“As fruits grow on a tree, no matter how big it is, it starts bending. Nature inspires us. As the fruits of victory cover this tree call BJP, it becomes our responsibility to bend, to become more humble,” he said.
Referring to the generations of Jana Sangh and BJP leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani, Kushabhau Thakre and Jana Krishnamrrthi who “gave their youth and life” for raising “this banyan tree”, Modi said power was “not an instrument to rule but a tool of service to people”.
Talking about the concept of ‘Antyodaya’ of Jana Sangh ideologue and one of its founders Deendayal Upadhyaya for the uplift of the last man, Modi said,” The poor have to be made capable of carrying their own burden to lessen that of the middle class, encumbered by taxes.”
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He lauded BJP chief Amit Shah, the party’s central and state leadership, and workers for the party’s presence in “every geographical area” of the country”. “Today, a BJP worker can proudly say he is a member of an organisation which is the largest political party in the world,” he said.
Modi wrapped up his address with throaty chants of ‘Vande Mataram’. Earlier, Modi, who took electoral campaigning to aggressive new levels, holding road shows three days in a row at the peak of electioneering in Varanasi, his constituency, did a brief encore, walking down the Ashok Road, smiling broadly and waving to jubilant supporters who lined the boulevard.
Amid a steady shower of flower petals, a triumphant Modi walked into the BJP headquarters surrounded by SPG commandos where he was received by Amit Shah.
Before taking the stage with Shah and Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu and others ahead of a meeting of BJP’s Parliamentary Board to discuss the party’s performance in the assembly polls in five states, he garlanded the bust of Deendayal Upadhyaya.
“When we mark 75 years of freedom in 2022, we should have made an India that will make Gandhi Ji, Sardar Patel & Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar proud,” Modi said in a tweet earlier in the day.
In a statement on his website Narendramodi.in, the Prime Minister said, “Together, let us build the India of our dreams so that when we mark 75 years of freedom in 2022, we have an India that will make Gandhiji, Sardar Patel and Babasaheb Ambedkar proud.”
He said, “India is transforming, powered by the strength of each and every citizen of India; an India that is driven by innovation, hard work and creativity; an India characterized by peace, unity and brotherhood; and an India free from corruption, terrorism, black money and dirt.”
He also listed out a set of pledges which he wanted the countrymen to take.
Modi wanted the countrymen to pledge that they stand for a corruption-free India, that they will undertake cashless transactions, that they will dedicatedly work towards a ‘Swachh Bharat’, that they will ensure a drugs-free India.
The Prime Minister also wanted the people to pledge that they will support and encourage women-led development, that they extend complete support to an ‘accessible India’, that they will stand for an India of peace, unity and harmony and that they will be job creators, not job seekers.
This came a day after the BJP, powered by a spirited campaign by Modi, posted landslide victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, decimating the rivals.