WITH THE BJP winning the Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, after an intense campaign in which the Opposition tried to corner the party on demonetisation and GST, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monday that the verdict has proved that India was ready for reform and to transform.
Addressing party workers during the “victory celebration” at the BJP headquarters, Modi also hit out at the Opposition, saying that “attempts were made to infuse the poison of casteism” in Gujarat but the voters endorsed his party’s thrust on “vikas” (development).
“Support for the BJP shows that the nation is ready for the reform agenda and every citizen wants India transformed,” Modi said.
“During the Uttar Pradesh election campaign, several people said that after demonetisation, the BJP will be defeated. A similar narrative was scripted in the Maharashtra civic polls also. The Opposition said that demonetisation and GST would kill the BJP’s chances. But now, the entire nation is joining our vikas yatra (development journey). The results prove that the country is ready to be transformed,” Modi said.
In Gujarat, where his party faced a combine of the Congress and youth leaders Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani who represented different caste groups, Modi warned people against “tactics” to split them.
“In the last few months, some people tried to play some games. You did not let them succeed but they won’t stop their tactics. Bear in mind that the unity of 6 crore Gujaratis is paramount. Because you contribute so much to the country’s growth, it is your responsibility to not let the engine of development get derailed amid divisive caste talk… maintain your unity,” he said.
The Prime Minister also alleged that there were attempts to infuse the “poison of casteism” in Gujarat. “Thirty years ago, the poison of caste was spread so much in Gujarat that it took workers like me 30 years to get rid of it. In the last few months, there were again attempts to sow the seeds of casteism but people rejected it, I congratulate them,” he said.
“There was talk that Modi has left (Gujarat), but I am more than happy to see that state leaders are working even harder for the people,” said Modi.
Reiterating that development remained his priority, Modi said, “So many conspiracies were hatched in Gujarat by the Congress, misinformation was spread. But people cannot bear anyone making fun of vikas. The Congress and other forces tried their best to defeat us. When the exit poll results came and they realised they couldn’t do it, they started efforts to dampen our happiness. But when a single party wins each and every election, one by one, through democratic means, even their opponents should have the courage to accept defeat.”
Referring indirectly to the corruption charges against Congress Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in Himachal Pradesh, Modi said that “if you don’t do development and are embroiled in all wrong acts then after five years people will not accept you”.