Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought in his moment of triumph on Sunday to redefine India and Indians, and assured that his government will work for everyone regardless of who they voted for in the five-state assembly polls.
The election results are a foundation for a “New India”, he said and exhorted people to take a pledge to build it by 2022 — three years beyond the NDA government’s current tenure.
He asked people to take a pledge every year over the next five years and toil to fulfil them.
“If we are successful, no one can stop India from become a world power,” he said.
The Prime Minister explained his idea of a New India and Indians, saying it should be a country that offers opportunities to the poor.
“A new India where the poor do not want anything by way of charity, but seek opportunity to chart out their own course … Indians today are not waiting for governmental sops. They only want opportunities to be created for them, so that they can work for their livelihood and prosperity.”
Speaking to party workers at the BJP headquarters on Sunday evening, a day after his party secured resounding victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, he reached out to the middle class too.
He appreciated their contribution to the country and assured that the “heavy economic burdens” of taxes and regulations on them would be lessened once the poor are empowered.
This was Modi’s first address to the middle class in recent times.
The middle class was the most vocal in its support to Modi in the run-up to the 2014 parliamentary elections. The government has made a concerted attempt to put on a pro-poor, pro-farmer image, as opposition parties project the BJP-led NDA as pro-capitalist.
“The strength of the poor and aspirations of the middle class can take India to new heights,” he said.
Modi walked about 200 metres from Le Méridien hotel to the BJP headquarters in the heart of the national capital as hundreds of party supporters gathered to celebrate the success in the latest polls, which were viewed as a popularity test for the Prime Minister.
Modi was gracious and humble in his address to them. He said he saw the victory as the “foundation” for a New India.
People in power should bend, like a fruit-laden tree, he said to illustrate the point that his government is “of those who have voted for it and also those who have not … of those who have walked along, and also of those who have not”.
Modi thanked the people and declared that his legislators will work for their welfare.
The Prime Minister had a message for the Opposition too. He said a majority can form a government, but it can run only through consensus.
The remarks were significant since several reform measures are stuck in the Rajya Sabha because of an absence of consensus between opposition parties and the government. The NDA does not have the requisite numbers to push through bills in Parliament’s Upper House.
Modi wants to give these delayed bills a fresh push after the emphatic election victory.
Excited workers, shouting “Modi-Modi” slogans, frequently interrupted his speech at the party headquarters, where the entire BJP parliamentary board was present.
Earlier in the day, he exhorted people to take the pledge and express their commitment towards building a “New India” on the Narendra Modi mobile app.