With his present arriving four days ahead of his 64th birthday, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi declared on Tuesday that people have “blessed” him and their blessings “would not go waste”.
After Friday’s official anointment, both the BJP and the Gujarat chief minister had plans for Tuesday.
While the party launched a major recruitment drive and declared the birthday would be marked as Sadbhavna Diwas -- a day dedicated to communal harmony – Modi thought it was an opportune moment to mend fences with arch-rival Keshubhai Patel. And in a conciliatory gesture, even party patriarch LK Advani, who had been upset over Modi’s elevation, called him up.
The birthday boy began the day with a visit to his mother, after which he called on Patel. Later, addressing a gathering of community leaders, he said the 2014 general elections have stirred an extraordinary amount of interest.
“In the past, people used discuss polls only after nominations, but this time, there’s so much hatred, so much dislike, that they are desperately waiting for elections,” he said. “Their blessings will give me strength and capability.”
The BJP, too, had a target. Following the launch of a special drive to recruit youngsters and members of the minority community, a party leader said, “We will enroll more than 1,00,000 new members within a week”.
As the BJP organised birthday celebrations across the state, the opposition Congress held sit-in demonstrations.
“Modi is a dictatorial person who has reduced his ministers to small-time clerks, who has not allowed the appointment of an independent Lokayukta,” said leader of the opposition Shankersinh Vaghela.
Taking a dig at Modi’s “tall claims”, state Congress president Arjun Modhwadia said September 17 should be declared the “International Feku Diwas”.