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Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 29, 2013
Hardcore governance, and not Hindutva or shades of it, would figure in the BJP’s main battle theme for the Delhi elections as well as the 2014 polls, BJP prime minister candidate Narendra Modi indicated on Sunday. At his first rally in Delhi since becoming the party’s face for the elections, Modi gave out the slogan, ‘Nation First, India First’ in response to the demand to declare the BJP’s plank. He also announced that the BJP’s new slogan would be “saab ke saath and saab ke vikas” (With all, and for everyone’s development.)

 Hindustan Times had reported on September 15, two days after he was named PM candidate, that Modi slogan will be "”India First” -- for shaping the new governmental policies in key sectors.

Modi’s emphasis on Sunday was also that “there is only one religion for the government -- Nation First and India First. There is only one philosophy for the government -- Nation First and India First. There is only one holy book, the Constitution of India. Nothing else matters or will matter. There is only one credo -- care of every one of 125 crore Indians.”

Modi’s heavy development dose comes in the backdrop of hitherto-not disclaimed reports from Ahmedabad that the Gujarat chief minister has conveyed to some Muslim leaders that issues like Ram temple were not his party’s main plank and they should have no misgivings about any discrimination under future BJP dispensation.

Modi on Sunday spoke about what should be the development goal when India enters the 75th year of its existence as a nation in 2022. Saying that in the next nine years, the government must have a vision that guarantees every person a decent life free of worries about food, shelter or work, Modi talked of the “Great Indian Dream”, urging every village and town to aspire for a better life. He vowed that neither the BJP nor he would break that dream.

The thrust of Modi’s rally address was that “if you deliver good governance, there will be growth; if you deliver good governance, there will be economic opportunities, development and everything else.”