Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said Gujarat had listened to him when he had asked the people to break his record, in turn giving the biggest mandate to the BJP in the state’s electoral history. He also said he had promised the people that he will work hard so that “Bhupendra can break Narendra’s record”, in a reference to his exhortation for a higher tally for the Bhupendra Patel-led state government during his relentless campaign ahead of the assembly elections.
“I had told the people of Gujarat that this time Narendra’s record should be broken. I promised that Narendra will work hard so that Bhupendra can break Narendra’s record. Gujarat has broken all records by giving the biggest mandate to the BJP in its history," the prime minister said while addressing party workers at the BJP headquarters on Thursday, as the saffron party registered a landslide victory with 156 seats out of 182.
The BJP surpassed its previous best of 127 seats in 2002 when Modi was the chief minister. He thanked the “champion" karyakartas, who carried the party’s poll campaign on their shoulders. “I bow to the strength of the people who blessed the BJP in this election. The BJP is capable of making big and tough decisions for the welfare of the people and, this time, Gujarat has shown a tremendous response to our spirits for development," Prime Minister Modi said, also congratulating the Election Commission of India for smooth and flawless poll management as no re-polling was needed on any seat.
The PM said Gujarat had created history by showering love on the BJP despite the party being in power in the state for 25 years. He said the support to the BJP showed that people’s anger against dynasty rule and corruption was rising. People had voted for the BJP as it was taking all facilities to the poor and middle class at the earliest, he added.
Modi said he was overcome with a lot of emotions on the “phenomenal election results". Reacting to the verdict in Himachal Pradesh, where the Congress has wrested power from the BJP, he thanked voters of the hill state for their affection and support to the saffron party and said his party will keep working to fulfil the aspirations of the state and raise people’s issues in the times to come.
“I am thankful to the voters of Himachal also, where our vote share was just less than 1 percent below that of the winning party. I want to assure the people of Himachal Pradesh that we will continue to provide full development to the state, even with less that 1% vote in this election. This election came at a time period when the country is celebrating ‘Amrit Kaal’," he added.
In a subtle dig at the Aam Aadmi Party, which put an end to the BJP’s 15-year rule in the elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, PM Modi said he had heard how people were “cheated with an aim to fail the Delhi corporation". “We don’t do that," he said, adding that people’s affection towards the BJP was visible in the twin victories at Rampur Sadar in Uttar Pradesh and Kurhani in Bihar.
“This affection towards the BJP is also visible in the by-elections of different states of the country. The BJP has won in UP’s Rampur. The performance of the BJP in the Bihar by-elections is giving a clear message of the days to come," Modi said.
He added: “The last few elections should be analysed on a big canvas. Those who call themselves neutral, who need to be neutral, where they stand, when and how they change colours and how they play the game — it is very important for the country to know this."
‘Brand Modi’ and its enduring sway on the Gujarati consciousness had much to do with the BJP’s best-ever tally for any party in the state assembly polls. It reduced to insignificance people’s perceived discontent with issues like inflation and local leadership. Modi addressed 31 rallies and led three road shows, travelling through different regions of his home state before polling.
The ECI data put the BJP’s vote share at around 53 percent, a historic first for the party. Helped by a split in the opposition’s votes due to the emergence of the AAP, the BJP broke the record of 149 seats won by the Congress under Madhavsinh Solanki in 1985.
(With PTI inputs)
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