Pitchforked into the prime ministerial race after his electoral hat-trick and amidst cheers of “PM, PM, PM” from his supporters, chief minister Narendra Modi on Thursday apologised to the people of Gujarat if he had committed any mistake. “If there has been a mistake somewhere, If I have erred somewhere, I seek apology from you, the six crore Gujaratis,” Modi said in Hindi, aimed at reaching out to a wider audience.
Modi, who won a third term as CM, though the BJP’s tally came down to 115 from the earlier 117 in 2007, thanked the Gujarat electorate for the victory saying, “The people of my state know what is good and bad for them. They have risen above caste and religious politics to vote for development. In this, they have set a precedent for the rest of the country to follow,” said Modi.
The chief minister, who was accompanied by other state BJP big-wigs including Amit Shah and Anandiben Patel, said that he had disproved the theory that good economics makes for bad politics.
Though addressing the people of his state, he mentioned the rest of India quite often.
“Be it Assam, Kerala, J&K or any other state, this victory is for all those who want to see India do better. Development of Gujarat benefits India as well. When farmers in the state benefit, their produce fill the belly of a hungry person somewhere in India. When an industry is set up here, it provides employment opportunity to a jobless person somewhere in my country,” said Modi. He also said youth from across the country come here in search of employment without fear.
Perhaps, taking a cue form the direction of his speech, the crowd would often burst into chants of Delhi, Delhi, Delhi. To this he replied, “If you are that insistent, I will go to Delhi on a one-day visit on December 27.”
For a chief minister whose speeches are loaded with sarcasm for his critics, Modi’s victory speech in the middle of a Muslim-dominated area was surprisingly bereft of derision, though he did take a few pot-shots at the Congress.
On Chidambaram’s comment that though Congress had lost in Gujarat it had won in Himachal, Modi said, “Even if we were to merge the number of seats won by the Congress in Gujarat and Himachal, it would still be less than what BJP earned in Gujarat.”