A day before he is again sworn in as chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi was elected leader of the BJP legislature party by 114 newly-elected MLAs of the BJP. Though it was just a formality, the MLAs raised their hands in favour of Modi at a meeting in the Town Hall, Gandhinagar, to elect him leader of the legislature party and cleared the way for his appointment as chief minister.
Senior BJP leader and leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley was present as observer and election officer.
When Jaitley asked for a name to be proposed for the post of leader of the BJP legislature party, senior BJP leader Vajubhai Vala proposed Modi’s name. (Vala belongs to the Karadiya Rajput community).
Modi’s name was seconded by BJP MLAs Mangubhai Patel, Ramanlal Vora, Bhavna Makwana, and Vallabh Kakadiya.
Mangubhai Patel is a senior tribal leader; Ramanlal Vora belongs to the Scheduled Castes; Bhavna Makwana is MLA from Mahuva and member of the Koli community; and Vallabh Kakadiya, a Leuva Patel, is MLA from Thakkarbapanagar.
In his speech, Modi showered praise on BJP workers. He said that workers of the party were its biggest asset as they had worked tirelessly to ensure its victory in the assembly elections.
“Gujarat BJP has set a standard of high values and tradition in the true sense of the word. While people have been discussing Gujarat and its government, not many look at how BJP Gujarat, as an organization, has functioned,” Modi said.
He further said that it would be wrong to say that he had won from Maninagar because he was Narendra Modi. “I won not because I am Narendra Modi but because of the hard work done by BJP workers. Workers of the party have lived with people and won their trust. It’s because of them that people have voted for the BJP. Party workers are our biggest asset,” he said.
Modi went on to remind MLAs of his party that as elected members of the BJP, it was their responsibility to ensure that party workers at the smallest level feel that their voice is heard by the leaders.
“It is the responsibility of elected leaders to stay in constant touch with party workers. Our party is not built on membership but on relationship,” he said.
He further reminded MLAs that as it was people who had elected them, their membership of the assembly was more of a responsibility than a post. “We will have to work continuously to live up to that responsibility,” Modi said.
He also indicated that he will expect his ministers to travel frequently across the state. “Not many people have noticed that in our government, ministers have visited more than 4000 villages in the state. We have taken government to the people,” Modi said.