Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday promised to devote “every moment” of his time and “every fibre” of his being for the people of India and said the country will now have only two castes — the poor and those who want to alleviate poverty.
In a rousing victory speech at the party headquarters here to celebrate the BJP’s spectacular victory, Modi told cheering supporters that the election has thrown up a mandate to build a new India as he dedicated the win to people.
“People are chanting Modi, Modi. But this is not a victory of Modi, it is the victory of people who are desperate for honesty in the system.
“It is not Modi’s victory, but a win of people’s hope and aspirations. This is the new India of 21st century,” Modi said.
Striking a conciliatory political tone, he also reached out to his rivals, urging everyone to put the rancour of the bitter and often nasty campaign behind them. What’s past is past, he said.
“We have to move ahead. We have to take everyone with us, even our opponents. We have to work for the benefit of the country,” he said. “You have filled this fakir’s bag with a lot of hope. All your hopes, dreams, ambitions are dependent on it,” he said.
This is the victory of toiling farmers who struggle to feed the nation, this is the victory of those who now live in proper houses, this is the victory of the middle class which follows the rules, pays taxes, but wondered if his taxes were being used for the benefit of the country, he said.
In the last five years, people have realised that the money they are contributing in taxes has been put to nation-building, he said.
Addressing the countrymen directly, Modi said he will not do anything with bad intention, even though, he added, he may at times commit a mistake on the job.
“I will not do anything for myself,” he said, signalling the noisy crowd to keep quiet and then added, “I will devote every moment of my time and every fibre of my being for my countrymen.”
“Whenever you judge me, judge me on these three parameters. If I fall short on these, curse me. But I assure my countrymen that what I have said in public I will do my best to fulfil,” he said.
Values and spirit of democracy and the Constitution enjoin his government to take everyone along as the country is run with consensus, he said.
In a jibe at BJP’s rivals, who are seen as the secular counter to the saffron party’s Hindutva agenda, he said people who used to proudly wear a “fake tag” of secularism did not talk about it at all.
“The opposition did not dare to mislead the country while wearing the false mask of secularism. The opposition did not accuse us of raising prices. All previous elections were fought on corruption issues. This was the first one in which any political party could not level even one charge of corruption,” he said.
People in the 2019 elections have put forth a new narrative, he said, adding that only two “castes” will remain in the country; the poor and those contributing to alleviating poverty.
Voters have dealt a huge blow to the parties doing politics in the names of castes, he said.
The prime minister said the verdict has vindicated his view that it was not parties but people who fought this election.
Modi also drew a Mahabharat war parallel with the elections.
Krishna was asked after the war which side he supported and he answered that he stood for Hastinapur, and people have spoken in the elections that they stood for India, the prime minister said.
“We were not disappointed when we won only two seats (in 1984). We will not leave our humility, ideals and values when we have come back to power,” Modi said.
Noting that the voter turn-out at 67.11 per cent in the elections was the highest ever, he said the world will have to recognise India’s democratic strength.
He also congratulated winners in four assembly polls, including in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, and said the Centre will work shoulder-to-shoulder with the new state governments for developing India.
Modi also called for a new spirit to build a prosperous India on the lines of the pre-1947 sentiments, saying it can take the country to new heights of development.