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Modi thanks Atal for support

Narendra Modi calls on former Prime Minister Vajpayee to seek his “blessings” and convey his gratitude for his last-minute appeal to the electorate to vote for Modi, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Dec 20, 2007 03:17 IST
Shekhar Iyer

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi called on former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee to seek his “blessings” and convey his gratitude for his last-minute appeal to the electorate to vote for Modi. The appeal was advertised in dailies two days before the second phase of the just concluded elections.

Modi, who was in New Delhi to attend the National Development Council meet and the chief ministers’ conference on security, spent 30 minutes with Vajpayee who could not campaign for him or the BJP due to ill health.

Both leaders are understood to have discussed the likely outcome of the elections that is to be announced on December 23. A day after elections ended in Gujarat, senior BJP leaders were confident that Modi would win a second term. While a section of the leaders were very optimistic and believed in Modi’s expectation of a “historic” win, others said the BJP would be back in power but with a reduced majority — a possibility predicted by many exit polls.

Vajpayee’s appeal to voters to back Modi and the BJP came a day after the Congress questioned the former Prime Minister’s silence. He appeared on newspapers for the first time, appealing to voters to re-elect the Modi government to give a “further boost” to the development of the state. However, the Congress had questioned the authenticity of the advertisements and asked whether Vajpayee had actually okayed the appeal.

The advertisement that was released by the BJP state unit had quoted Vajpayee, saying the people had always converted an election into an “opportunity” for development, and “I am confident that like the last time, you will again vote for a strong, determined development-oriented government.”

The advertisement had also said that Gujarat had marched on the path of progress very rapidly in the last five years of the Modi regime and its benefits had reached almost every section of the society.