With a very passionate speech praising six crore people of Gujarat for development and peace, chief minister Narendra Modi embarked on his three day fast which is not against anyone but to promote "unity, peace and brotherhood" in the state.
In his fiery speech, he said "Gujarat was victim of communal flare in which many innocent lives were lost but now with the help of six crore people of Gujarat, we have overcome this and therefore curfew is no longer a relevant word in the state."
He emphatically stressed that his government is committed to development of all people of the state, irrespective of caste, community or region. "This mission Sadbhavna is will end vote bank politics," he said, adding,"Gujarat has achieved new heights of development that is spoken about across the world now."
"Success of Gujarat development is result of hard work of six crore people of the state, who remained united and worked tirelessly and that has been recognized by the world," he said in the speech, replete with six crore Gujaratis and unity and brotherhood.
According to him, Sadbhavana mission will be taken to every village of the state to create positive atmosphere for development and progress.
His speech appeared as an attempt to shed his hardline Hindutva poster boy image, that is holding him back from playing a leading role at national level, as he is not even acceptable to the allies of NDA.
He didn't hurl any allegation against anyone, he didn't accuse anyone for anything and limited his speech to broad base his acceptability by talking about good governance, peace, unity and brotherhood.
Before he reached at the venue, clad in full sleeved white kurta and saffron dupatta, went to his mother to seek her blessings on his 61st birth day. "Today is my birth day, which I never celebrate, I never take any call and meet people on this day. And this fast beginning today is not in celebration of the same," he said, clarifying that he didn't time his fast to begin on his birth day.
Modi, who has been accused of playing a dubious role in the Gujarat riots of 2002, in which 1200 people were killed in the state, finds the events of the year an impediment to his bigger political ambition for national level.
At Gujarat university convention hall, venue of Modi's fast, in attendance are top leaders like L K Advani, Arun Jaitley, CM of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, representatives of Tamil Nadu government and religious saints and large number of people.
Meanwhile, at Mahatma Gandhi Ashram, Congress leaders have also launched their counter fast, slamming the chief minister for playing politics in the name of fast. Congress leader Shanker Singh Vaghela dubbed Modi's fasts as " drama and marketing gimmick to get publicity."