In PM Modi’s victory speech, many messages to political pundits and Sena
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s performance in the Maharashtra and Haryana elections where it emerged as the single largest party was a big deal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told hundreds of cheering party workers at the BJP headquarters in national capital Delhi to celebrate the party’s win in the state elections.
There had been some disappointing moments for the BJP through the day when it became clear that the ruling party would not get a clear majority on its own in either of the states. But government formation had never been a problem in Maharashtra where it has the support of its alliance partner, the Shiv Sena. together, they were comfortably placed in the 288-seat assembly.
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In Haryana, there were moments when the opposition appeared within striking distance of power if it were to quickly stitch up an alliance. That possibility appeared so possible at one point that the Congress even issued a public appeal to non-BJP parties to unite to prevent the Manohar Lal Khattar government from returning to power. Around the time the prime minister was delivering his victory speech, the political situation had brightened for the BJP. The BJP had won or was leading on 40 seats; the Congress was in second place with 31 seats in the 90-member assembly.
In a tweet put out minutes earlier, PM Modi had made it clear that his party considered the poll outcome a “blessing” and an opportunity to serve Haryana again.
In his victory speech at the party event to celebrate the achievement, PM Modi said this was the time when political pundits were analysing the results and went on to focus his speech on explaining why the BJP’s performance in the two state elections was such a big deal. It was also scripted to respond to the opposition Congress that interpreted the verdict to be a “moral defeat” for its governments in the two states.
Over the next 30 minutes, PM Modi did more than just tell BJP workers that both the BJP governments run by first-time chief ministers had provided a clean administration and beaten the trend of anti-incumbency. “Khattar and Fadnavis were not even ministers in any previous governments before becoming chief ministers,” Modi said. “It was a young and new leadership that tried to take everyone along and serve people with commitment.”
PM Modi also made it clear that Khattar and Fadnavis would get a second five-year term in the top seats. This message from the prime minister came hours after Uddhav Thackeray, the Shiv Sena boss told a crowded news conference, that the question about the government’s chief minister wasn’t a done deal. “Who will be the chief minister is an important question,” Uddhav Thackeray told reporters.
PM Modi’s speech appeared to seal this question.
“I believe the next governments, under the leadership of Manohar Lal Khattar and Devendra Fadnavis over five years, will take Haryana and Maharashtra to new heights of development,” PM Modi said.
In Maharashtra, PM Modi attempted to drive home the distance that the BJP had covered over the last few years by reminding the party workers how it always used to be the junior partner. Every alliance government that was formed was led by the Sena where the BJP would get “some opportunity” to work, he said. He did not spell out that the BJP was now the senior partner but the message got through.
“BJP and Sena fought against each other in the last election, but people decided that they cannot remain separate. It’s BJP’s character to take everyone along,” he said.
In Haryana, PM Modi said until 2014, it was a big deal for the BJP to get 5-10 assembly seats in an alliance, and the ally used to decide which seats goes to the BJP. Touching double digit was seen as a huge achievement, Modi said.
“There are few examples of a government returning to power after five years,” Modi said. “To emerge the single largest party in such a scene is a big thing. The vote share also increased 3% compared to the last assembly election.”