Scenes of great camaraderie and warm emotions were witnessed in the Central Hall of Parliament today as prime minister-designate Narendra Modi entered it for the first time accompanied by other NDA members who had gathered to elect him as their leader.
Three-time Gujarat Chief Minister Modi was accorded a rousing welcome by leaders of his party as well as those belonging to the 29 NDA allies as they reposed faith in his leadership for staking the claim to form the new government.
Emotions ran high in the BJP camp and party veteran LK Advani had tears in his eyes, as did prime minister-elect Modi, even as the other leaders celebrated the party's highest-ever tally since its inception.
As he was about to step foot inside Parliament, Modi bowed and touched with his forehead the stairs leading into the portal in a mark of respect for the "temple of democracy". He later hailed it for elevating a common man like him to the highest post in the country.
Clad in his trademark kurta-pyjama with full sleeves and a vest-jacket, Modi was greeted by all and sundry.
Thanking the BJP's prime ministerial candidate for taking the party to such heights, Advani turned emotional as he said that this historic day had come in his life due Modi.
Moved by Advani's remarks, Modi too had tears in his eyes as he said in a choked voice, "Advaniji ne ek shabd kahaa aur mai Advaniji se prarthna karunga ki woh iss shabd ka istmaal na kare. Unhone kaha ki Narendra-bhai ne kripa ki. Kya maa ki seva kabhi kripa ho sakti hai? Katay nahin ho sakti hai.
"Jaise bharat meri maa hai waise hi BJP bhi meri maa hai.
Aur isliye beta kabhi maa per kripa nahin karta, sirf samarpit bhav se maa ki sewa karta hai (Advaniji said that I have done a favour to BJP. Like India, BJP is also my mother. Can serving the mother be a favour? Not at all. A son is only dedicated to serving the mother)."
Modi's key aide Amit Shah -- who is credited with having scripted the party's unprecedented victory in Uttar Pradesh -- was greeted by many greenhorns as well as seniors ahead of Modi's anointment as the leader of the Parliamentary Party.
The BJP chief ministers of Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan -- Raman Singh and Vasundhara Raje -- were seen greeting MPs and introducing their sons to them. Singh and Raje's sons, respectively, Abhishek and Dushyant, have both made it to the 16th Lok Sabha.
Modi, who entered the central hall to a loud applause, touched Advani's feet, who embraced him affectionately.
The Central Hall saw the colours and hues of the saffron party as the women MPs turned up in their colourful best. The backdrop of flowers in the Central Hall was made out in the colours of the Indian tricolour.
Even the saffron colour was not missing as there were at least seven newly-elected sadhus and sadhvis, including Uma Bharti and Swamy Adityanath, wearing saffron robes.
With a large contingent of BJP MPs coming from the Hindi heartland, leaders whose attire was the dhoti-kurta seemed to dominate the hall. However, newly-elected MP from Asansol, singer Babul Supriyo, looked different in a blue shirt and denims.
Actor-turned-politician Hema Malini was the cynosure of many eyes as she entered clad in a cream saree with golden flowers while Smriti Irani wore a bright purple saree.
On his first visit to the Central Hall, Modi said, "I visited the Gujarat Chief Minister's chamber for the first time when I became chief minister. I entered the Gujarat Assembly for the first time after I became chief minister. I have come here also for the first time."
Recalling Modi's "Yes, we can" call issued during campaigning in Hyderabad, on the lines of US President Barack Obama's campaign slogan, BJP President Rajnath Singh asserted, "Yes, we will" as he sought to strike a note of optimism ahead of government formation.
Calling the mandate given to BJP a vote for hope, Modi said this was the first government which will be headed by someone born in independent India.
"I don't know what pessimism is. I am optimistic. Only an optimist can generate hope in the country. The countrymen will have to leave this pessimism. If the 125 crore people in the country take a step forward, the country will move forward by 125 crore steps," he said.