At 6.10pm on Friday, India's prime minister designate took centre stage in Vadodara, one of the two Lok Sabha seats he contested and won on the way to decimating the Congress and everybody else.
Narendra Modi started his address with "Bharat mata ki jai", as the
crowd roared and cheered his every word.
By all means, it was a victory rally where Modi congratulated voters in Vadodara, a city 139 km from state capital Gandhinagar. But, he went a step ahead.
Modi used the dais to deliver his first message to the nation following the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) emphatic election victory.
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"There are no enemies in democracy. Yes, there are rivals and contests... but that's the beauty of democracy," Modi said, as a mammoth electoral process marked by bitter fights came to an end.
"Sabka saath, sabka vikas (with everybody, development for all) is our motto," he said, adding, "These are not hollow words."
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had got the nation's verdict to run the government at the Centre, Modi said.
But, he stressed, "Desh chalane ke liye sabko sath rakhna chahte hai (we want to work with everybody in order to run the country)".
"For a government, no one is a favourite, nor is anyone an alien."
Describing himself as a mazdoor (labourer), Modi asked the gathering whether they doubted his ability to do hard work.
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"No," came a thunderous reply to the question posed by a man who conducted 172 rallies across the country between March 26 and May 10.
Earlier, addressing his victory speech in Vadodara, Modi showered praises on the voters in Vadodara.
He said, “The rivals were busy mudslinging, but the people of India have said the answer to their problems is vikaas (development)."
Modi, however, said he needed 10 years to develop the country the way he has done it in Gujarat.
"People wanted me to say something since morning, but my wish was if I had to say something I would say it in Vadodara."
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"How do you feel, tell me," he posed to the crowd before engaging them in his by now known style of oratory, while using the 'achche din ane wale hain (good days are coming)' catchphrase.
Modi, who won by more than 570,000 votes from the Gujarat constituency, apart from winning Varanasi, said, "I bow down before the people of Vadodara. After filing my nomination papers from here, I could give this constituency only 50 minutes. But paanch lakh sattar hazaar (5.7 lakh)!"
"In Vadodara, every voter worked as Narendra Modi."
The 64-year-old BJP leader stressed at both his rallies in Vadodara and Ahmedabad that he will take everyone, all parties and political opponents along, as “There is no enmity in democracy, but there is competition and that is the beauty of democracy”.
He said, "There are parties which have not won even a single seat in the polls, but they are also important and they will also be taken with us."
Apparently raking up the Varanasi administration's reported denial of permission for his rally in the holy city, he said, "I could not take my words as a candidate to Varanasi voters, but they voted for my silence."
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