‘By the poor, of the poor, for the poor’
While the gesture on the steps of Parliament sent a message of humility, his inspiring address inside the hallowed hall made clear his commitment to constitution and governance. Party leader Amit Shah, was the first to greet him, followed by other leaders including party veteran L.K. Advani who proposed his name.
‘It is the strength of the Constitution that a common man like me is here today,’ Modi said, after he was unanimously elected the leader of the BJP Parliamentary Party by the newly-elected Lok Sabha members and those of Rajya Sabha. In an address which is being equated second only to first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘tryst with destiny’ speech, Modi pointed out the absence of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the historic occasion. Modi-baiters over the years have used Vajpayee ‘Raj Dharma’ allusion to corner the incoming prime minister. ‘I wish he was in good health to be present here. Sone pe suhaga hota .’
On the context of areas which will be given priority, he said, ‘The new government will be dedicated to the poor of the country, its youth and its women. The government is for their hopes and aspirations. Had there been a hung Parliament, this would have been a vote against the ruling Congress. But the kind of majority we have got, it shows that it is a vote for us, not against them. I accept this responsibility.’
In mood to forgive and forget, he next sought indulgence of his mentor-turned-detractor Lal Krishna Advani. Choked with emotions, he said, ‘I request Advaniji not to use the word kripa (oblige) while enumerating my contribution to the party.’ Fighting back his tears, Modi said, ‘A son cannot do kripa (obligation) to his mother. Like the country, my party is also my mother.’ This led to loud thumping of the desk with almost all in the ranks of new elected lawmakers bowled over by their leaders humility and generosity.
He next chose the occasion to tell his compatriots that the victory was not an outcome of his or anybody else’s charisma but hard work of the millions of karyakartas (volunteers) and the dedication of the five generations of Jan Sangh-BJP supporters. ‘Woh deewalon par deep jalate the (they would light lamps on the wall).’ Earthen lamp was the party symbol of Jan Sangh, BJP’s predecessor. Modi said stressed the blessing of 125 crore people of this country should not be wasted. ‘A position is not always important. What is important is our service to the nation,’ he said, while hinting that party leaders should follow the line and should not sulk if not included in the cabinet.
He asked party MPs to work purposefully for the people and not for the posts. ‘We are here in the temple of democracy.’ We will work with all purity and not for the designation. Work and responsibility are the biggest things,’ he added. Giving his own example of ‘karyabhar (responsibility),’ he said, ‘On 13 September, my party president Rajnath Singh, gave me the responsibility of leading the BJP campaign.’