In an emotionally charged speech, prime minister-designate Narendra Modi, humbly accepted the responsibility of leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party Parliamentary Party on Tuesday, and termed the 2014 general election result in favour of the BJP as a mandate of hope and deliverance.
"If there was a fractured mandate, then you could have said it is an anti-establishment vote, but a full majority for the BJP means that the people have voted for hope. This parliament is our temple of democracy and all of us are here not for posts, but to carry forward and realise the expectations of India's 125 crore population," Modi said.
"The office is not important, responsibility is... We must dedicate ourselves to discharge this responsibility. I believe a government should think about the poor, listen to their problems. The new government is dedicated to the poor of India, the crores of youth and the women of India," he added.
Modi expressed his gratefulness to veteran BJP leader L.K.Advani and party president Rajnath Singh for their blessings and remembered former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on the occasion. "I was thinking it would have been fitting health permitting, had Atalji been [present among us here today. It would have been the icing on the cake," Modi said.
Modi turned emotional midway through his speech, when he asked Advani to retract his use of the word of gratefulness (kripa) when referring to him (Modi), and added that if anyone needed to be grateful to the BJP and its senior leadership, including Advani, it was him. He said that the credit for the mandate that he had secured belonged to the BJP and its stalwarts, and to him.
"Like the country is my mother, so is the BJP. A son cannot expect a mother to serve. In our tradition, it is the son who gives service and gets blessed in exchange," Modi said. Modi also highlighted the fact that this will be the first time that a person born after independence will be leading the nation.
"Now, the era of responsibility begins. There may be many people here who were born in independent India and this will be the first government to be led by someone born in independent India. We did not have the good fortune of fighting for India's independence, nor could we not die for the country but we have been given an opportunity to live for this country," Modi said.
He also brought into light that every person in life faces hardships, but one has to make a turnaround. "There are troubles in everyone's lives - in 2001, after the earthquake, people believed Gujarat was finished... but Gujarat was back on its feet in no time... I want to tell India, we must be optimistic, look forward... If each person in the country takes one step, India would have taken 125 crore steps forward," Modi said.