Telling BJP's Gujarat story, PM Modi breaks into tears
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday turned emotional as he recalled the struggle and contribution of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in building the party in Gujarat where the saffron party notched up its sixth consecutive Assembly election win. Addressing the BJP parliamentary party, Modi was seen holding back his tears — at least three times according to those present at the meeting — as he named Jana Sangh and BJP leaders, some of them now dead, who built the organisation in Gujarat, which has become the party's leading citadel for over two decades.
It was a big achievement for the BJP to win power in the state for a sixth term with more vote share, he said, asking party leaders not to be affected by the Opposition's "disinformation campaign". The Congress has projected the Gujarat results, where it won its biggest tally since the 1985 polls by winning 77 seats while the BJP with 99 seats got its lowest since 1990, as a "moral victory" for itself, a claim termed as a "laughable exercise" by BJP President Amit Shah at Wednesday's meeting.
In his address, Modi also pointed out that the Congress under Indira Gandhi got to rule 18 states but the BJP and its allies are in power in 19 states as of now. The saffron party has achieved such a political feat in its three-and-a-half-year rule at the Centre.
Modi fondly recalled how former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee congratulated him in person when the party fared well in a Lok Sabha election from Gujarat, noting that he, then a relatively new entrant to the BJP from the RSS and a general secretary in charge of the state, was not widely known in the party, sources said. Modi also noted that it was Vajpayee's magnanimity to reach out to him.
Modi broke into tears as he recalled the work of Makrand Desai, Arvind Maniyar and Vasantrao Gajendragadkar among others in building the party, known as Jana Sangh in its earlier avatar, in Gujarat, the sources said. He said that they and countless other leaders and workers have made huge sacrifices as he asked party leaders to work with dedication and humility to win the people's support.
Seeking the promotion of young leaders at every level in the organisation, Modi referred to his association with Shah and spoke about how he groomed the BJP president, who is 14 years younger than the prime minister, the sources said.
Meanwhile, the BJP on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not uttered a single word for which he should apologise and accused the Congress of venting frustration at its defeat in the recent Assembly polls by stalling Parliament.