Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled his vision for what he termed a “New India” based on development opportunities, empowering the poor rather than keeping them dependent on doles.
Mr Modi was speaking to BJP workers at the party headquarters here on Sunday.
Mr. Modi thanked the party workers and supporters for the victory in Uttar Pradesh. He said the potential for a “New India” was evident in the verdict in Uttar Pradesh election that was fought on the issue of development, than high voltage emotions.
‘No emotional issues’
After a road show in Central Delhi, Mr. Modi said:
“In this country, there have been several ‘waves’ in elections, based on emotional issues. Elections fought on issues of development have been few... it is tough for political parties to fight polls on the plank of development.
“In Uttar Pradesh and in other States that went to the polls recently, there was a lack of emotional issues; yet there was heavy polling and a huge, decisive verdict, especially in Uttar Pradesh, a State that is so big that it gives direction to the discourse in the country.
“It demonstrates a faith in democracy and the electoral process and in this, I can see the foundations of a ‘New India’. A ‘New India’ where 65% of the population is under 35 years old, where women actively work towards empowerment, of a generation that is looking for opportunities to contribute rather than wait around for doles.
“I am not a person who only does things with a mind to elections. I have a milestone of 2022 when India completes 75 years of Independence. We all should take a pledge, of something good that we want to contribute to the country and promise to fulfil that pledge by 2022.”
UP elections 2017 - complete coverage
The NaMo app has been running this pledge since late afternoon, with subscribers being asked to dedicate five years to the cause of their choice, ranging from women’s empowerment to fighting corruption, to promoting cashless transactions.
After taking a decisive pro-poor shift in policy and in campaign rhetoric in the recent elections, including a loan waiver for farmers and no interest on agricultural credit, Mr. Modi had some words of solace for the middle class, whose burden, he said, could only be lightened by an empowered poor.
“In many cases, the middle class has to bear the burden of paying taxes, of maintaining public services etc. That burden must be lightened, and that can only happen when the poor are empowered. My vision for ‘New India’ is about empowering the poor with opportunities, the only thing that will propel India forward,” he said.
Mr. Modi’s speech can be seen as a signal that some important economic reforms are in the offing.
Lauding BJP president Amit Shah, Mr. Modi tried to allay fears of a majoritarian government in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand (where the party did not field a single Muslim candidate), saying that once elected, governments had “no right to discriminate.”
“When governments are elected, it is done through bahumat [majority], but when it governs it does so by sarvamat [consensus]. The BJP-led governments are for those who voted for us and also those who did not. Once elected, no government has the right to discriminate and the BJP accepts no such right to discriminate,” he said.