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Oath taking in the evening, the buck stops with PM Narendra Modi

Oath taking in the evening, the buck stops with PM Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi faced all his critics and endeared himself to the people who were waiting for a "strong" leader.

New Delhi: The distance between Gujarat Bhawan in Chanakyapuri, the Diplomatic enclave of New Delhi, and the Prime Minister's official residence 7, Racecourse Road, is just 500 metres. Narendra Modi has covered that distance in 13 years. When Modi was made the Gujarat chief minister after the disastrous earthquake in Gujarat, nobody knew that he would reach the Prime Minister's residence in just 13 years.

Narendra Modi was actually an accidental chief minister. Keshubhai Patel, the then chief minister, was seen as a total failure in carrying out the earthquake relief work and the BJP central leadership in New Delhi was worried that the party would be wiped out in the Assembly elections 8 to 10 months later.

Narendra Modi, who was a national general secretary of the party, was rushed to Gujarat to replace the unpopular Keshubhai Patel. But some of Modi's close confidantes claim that he had already set his eyes on the ultimate seat of power in New Delhi and was quietly making groundwork for his journey.

According political analysts no other chief minister or a political leader faced the intense public scrutiny Modi was subjected to face. Any other person in his place would have compromised or lost the will to rule and aim for higher things. But Narendra Modi is Narendra Modi and he faced all his critics and endeared himself to the people who were waiting for a "strong" leader.

He had to fight his 'enemies' within and outside. With the backing of the RSS, he took on his 'enemies' within and launched an attack on the opposition outside.

His election campaign was also entirely different. It was a personality driven, one person centric campaign like that in the Indira Gandhi days. The campaign was all about himself and other leaders did not matter at all. He cleverly and successfully made it a battle between Modi and the rest. It was an audacious decision, but the results on May 16 proved him right.

As a headline on May 16 says "Modi delivered what he promised - Congress free India". His IT savvy army's 'maximum' campaign also paid rich dividends and brought the younger generation to polling booths in large numbers.

He wrote in his blog on May 10, the last day of the campaign, "Friends in the party told me that I have addressed rallies and programmes in almost 5,800 locations, covering a distance of over 3 lakh kilometre. The number of rallies I addressed in this campaign season is 440, including the Bharat Vijay Rallies that I began with the blessings of Maa Vaishno Devi on 26th March 2014."

Perhaps no other leader except Indira Gandhi travelled so much across India before him. His 'Chai Pe Charcha' was held at over 4,000 locations across India. His campaign was innovative and hi-tech. As he says, "Innovation was seen in the Bharat Vijay 3D rallies. In one month, I addressed 12 rounds of 3D rallies covering 1350 locations."

On May 20, the day he was formally elected as the Prime Minister by the BJP led NDA at the Central Hall of Parliament, Modi spoke without rancour. He gave enough hints that he has already moved away from his earlier image of a 'divisive' figure and he wants to be seen as a consensus builder.

He did not criticise his opponents. He actually extended a hand of friendship. An emotional Modi said, "I salute all freedom fighters and also salute makers of the Constitution of our country as because of them, the world is witnessing the power of democracy. When global leaders called me, I told them about millions of voters of India. They were surprised. It is the power of our Constitution that a poor person belonging to a poor and deprived family is standing here today. This is the power of our Constitution and hallmark of our democratic elections that a common citizen can also reach this height. The BJP's victory and somebody else's loss is a point for debate later. Citizens have realised that this democratic setup can fulfill their aspirations. Their faith in democracy has strengthened further.

A government is one which thinks about the poor, listens to the poor and which exists for the poor. Therefore, the new government is dedicated to the poor, millions of youth and mothers and daughters who are striving for their respect and honour. Villagers, farmers, Dalits and the oppressed, this government is for them, for their aspirations and this is our responsibility. And this is our responsibility. I have seen new facets of our country in my campaign. I have seen people who had only one piece of clothing on their body but had the BJP's flag. This section is looking at us with hope and aspirations. And therefore, our dream is to fulfill their dreams."

Modi's invitation to all SAARC nation heads including the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is being hailed as a political masterstroke. As a senior leader of the BJP Dr Subramanian Swamy says earlier all neighbouring countries except Bhutan were against us. We are going to change that under Narendra Modi.

It is a fact that Modi's historic victory generated so much interest across the world and all top world leaders from US President Barack Obama to Russian President Vladimir Putin took notice of his remarkable victory and they were among the first to congratulate him.

Modi is also trying to strike a conciliatory note with both his friends and foes within India. He is trying to be a statesman Prime Minister. If he succeeds, it will be good for the country, if he does not, it will be a historic waste of a historic opportunity.

The people who have seen him are confident that he will use this opportunity to change India's destiny and Modi is not somebody who will let go off an opportunity.