'BJP will back new Govt'
Vajpayee said BJP's "hand of cooperation" would be extended to the new Govt in the interest of the nation.
Caretaker Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Thursday said the Bharatiya Janata Party has accepted the people's mandate in the Lok Sabha polls and will extend full cooperation to the new Government.
In a television address to the nation, Vajpayee, who earlier in the evening submitted his resignation to President APJ Abdul Kalam Azad, said: "our hand of cooperation" would be extended to the new government in all its endeavours that are in the interest of the nation and the people.
"We have given up office, but not our responsibility to serve the nation. We have lost an election, but not our determination," he said.
"Victory and defeat are a part of life, which are to be viewed with equanimity," he said.
Contending that India is the world's largest democracy, the Prime Minister said "it is always with the will of the people that governments have been formed--and changed".
"This power of democracy is a matter of pride for our country, something which we must always cherish, preserve and further strengthen."
Recalling the mandate given to him to serve as Prime Minister since March 1998, he said people's "goodwill and affection were my greatest asset. Your support and trust were my greatest source of strength."
Observing that the nation was faced with a challenge of stability, good governance and development when he came to power, he said "it is for you-and history- to judge what we achieved during this period."
Voicing satisfaction that the country was now stronger and more prosperous than when he took over the reigns of office, Vajpayee said India's strides in social and economic development during the past three years have announced its capability as well as resolve to emerge as a developed nation soon. "My party and alliance may have lost, but India has won".