At the end of the campaign for Lok Sabha elections, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah claimed that the party will return to power with a majority, and while all pre-election allies would be part of the government, the “doors will be open for anyone who wants to join the agenda of the BJP” afterward.
At a press conference in the BJP headquarters, Modi made his first appearance since he came to power in 2014, but refused to field any media question, leaving the floor for Shah to address them.
“I am a disciplined soldier of the party. The party president is everything for us,” Modi said when asked questions.
Responding to a question to the Prime Minister on the Rafale fighter jet deal, Shah said, “It is not necessary that the Prime Minister responds to every question.”
Modi, who in a surprise move showed up on the dais at the press conference convened by Shah, gave a speech, exuding confidence that his party would return to power. “A government with full majority (is) coming back after remaining in power for five years. This is probably happening after a very long time. This is a big deal in itself,” Modi said.
Modi said, “The public has decided on the next government. We have promised many things in our manifesto to take the country forward. As soon as possible, the new government will take charge and we will take decisions one after another.”
He said there was a time when the Indian Premier League (IPL) had to be shifted out of India due to the polls, but under the current government Navratri, Ram Navami, Easter, Ramzan, IPL, Board examinations as well as elections could take place simultaneously.
Claiming that his coming to power was the beginning of the “era of honesty” in Indian politics, Modi said, “Election results came on May 16, 2014, and a huge casualty took place on May 17, 2014. Today is also May 17. People in the ‘satta bazaar’ (betting market) who bet for the Congress to win in the elections faced huge losses on May 17 (in 2014). It was the beginning of an era of honesty,” he added.
Modi said work to fulfil promises made in the BJP’s manifesto will be started as soon as the party returns to power. “We ensured last-mile delivery, which was a new structure of governance…. Our government will take up its responsibility as soon as possible,” he said.
Before Modi’s speech, Shah addressed the media. “The BJP will have enough seats to form a government on its own,” he maintained. “We will get more than 300 seats. This election is to choose the country’s Prime Minister. Narendra Modi will be the Prime Minister.”
Emphasising that the campaign ahead of April-May elections were “most extensive and most hard-working” since Independence, Shah said Modi’s outreach was unprecedented. According to Shah, Modi flew 1.5 lakh km and addressed 142 public rallies in “temperatures ranging from 18 degrees to 46 degrees”. “On March 28, the campaign started from Meerut. Prime Minister Modi addressed 142 public rallies, held four roadshows and, according to conservative estimates, he directly addressed about 1.5 crore people in these rallies. Modi’s campaign involved air travel of around 1.5 lakh km,” Shah said.
The BJP president said he himself visited 312 Lok Sabha constituencies and addressed 161 public rallies. He said he travelled 1.58 lakh km and held 18 roadshows.