Amid chants of "PM, PM" at the BJP headquarters in Delhi, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday did little to camouflage his ambitions for a national role, saying he will work hard to to shoulder any responsibility the party gives him.
"As a BJP worker, whatever responsibility is given to me by the party I will fulfill them. In the past, whatever responsibilities have been given to me, I have shouldered them with full dedication," he said in response to a rousing welcome at the party headquarters on his first visit after his hat-trick.
Ever since his victory, there has been speculation that Modi may be projected as the party's prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Modi made these comments in his thanks-giving speech at a well-attended felicitation programme.
During his speech, several enthusiastic workers shouted "PM, PM". Modi did not react to this gesture.
The chief minister said he was in Delhi to give to the BJP leadership the accounts of the work done by him in the last 12 years and insisted that the third consecutive victory under his leadership is proof of the hard work.
While thanking the workers for the felicitation, Modi said Gadkari himself had come to the programme and express his gratitude for this. The senior leaders of party LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley were, however, not present in the felicitation programme.
The background of the stage displayed a picture of Modi and Vajpayee prominently in the centre while pictures of Advani, Gadkari, Jaitley and Swaraj were pushed to the corners.
The crowd raised slogans "After Gujarat, it is time to win the nation".