In yet another emotional day for Narendra Modi, the PM-designate held back tears as he was given a fond farewell by the members of the Gujarat assembly where he served as chief minister for over 12 years. Later in the day, his close confidante Anandiben Patel also broke down after being named his successor. She will be sworn in on Thursday.
Speaking of his time in the assembly, Modi said he did not speak much in the House, “...but I always made it a point to listen to every member of the House, including those of opposition”. Modi will be sworn in as Prime Minister on May 26. He is the second Gujarati to be PM after the late Morarji Desai.
“Everybody talks about Gujarat model and is curious to know what it is. Bipartisan is Gujarat model. Everybody has contributed in its development,” he said to a full House. Apologising to the members for any shortcoming, he said “it’s time to say michhami dukkdam” — a phrase used by Jains to ask for forgiveness. After his 30-minute speech, Modi went to Raj Bhawan to submit his resignation.
But the farewell was not without controversy as opposition leader Shankersinh Vaghela took a few parting shots. “Gujarat has given two PMs to India and both via Godhra. Morarji Desai was deputy collector of Godhra during horrendous communal riots in 1929. Narendrabhai also worked in Godhra as RSS pracharak and I don’t want to get into the details of what happened in 2002,” said the RSS swayamsevak-turned-Congress leader.
“You have been saying that the Centre hasn’t done enough for Gujarat. Now you can release as much funds as possible since you are PM. Now that you have majority, go and build Ram temple within the constitutional framework,” said Vaghela, a once ally now arch-rival of Modi.
On the issue of black money, Waghela suggested constituting a panel under yoga guru Ramdev to bring it back. Ramdev, who had strongly backed the BJP during the election campaign, is facing several criminal cases relating to alleged financial irregularities.
Modi’s farewell was given in special session of the House where CM-designate Patel called him a “leader of the 21st century” who converted problems into opportunities. “People will remember you (Modi) for many years to come,” said Patel, who will be Gujarat’s first woman chief minister.
Anandiben named first-ever woman CM of Gujarat
Anandiben Patel on Wednesday was elected leader of the Gujarat BJP legislature party and named the state's first-ever woman chief minister following PM-designate Narendra Modi's resignation from the seat he held during his 12-year long tenure.
A close aide of Modi, Patel, 74, was unanimously elected at a meeting of the legislature party supervised by party observer Thavar Chand Gehlot in the state capital.
"She is the senior most minister, who has experience in dealing with 10 different departments in the state administration. Under her leadership, Gujarat will reach new heights of development," said PM-designate Narendra Modi, congratulating the BJP MLAs for selecting Patel as their leader.
After her name was announced Patel broke down while addressing the party MLAs and said she would take the state on the development path laid by Narendra Modi.
"It's very important day for all of us here. Personally, it's a great honour to be the first woman CM of Gujarat," she told the party legislators. Patel will be sworn in as chief minister with her cabinet on Thursday.