Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that the results of two State Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, along with several bypolls, reflected the support of all sections of society for the BJP’s “vision and commitment”. Addressing BJP workers at the party’s headquarters in New Delhi, he exhorted them to work to rise above the “faultlines” that divide, which he said were “being exploited” by rival parties for political gains.
“India’s future can be made bright not by raising faultlines, but by erasing them. Hundreds of reasons exist for fighting, but one reason is enough for us to unite, which is our motherland India,” Mr. Modi said in his address after the BJP’s record-busting win in his home State of Gujarat, where the BJP won over 155 seats and scored over 52% of votes.
However, the BJP lost to the Congress in Himachal Pradesh. While the people of Gujarat have “broken records in breaking new records”, the BJP fell behind the Congress by less than 1% votes in Himachal Pradesh, Mr. Modi noted. He added that his party’s win in the Kurhani bypoll in Bihar against the combined might of the grand alliance of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Janata Dal (United) and the Congress was an indication of the times to come in the State.
Alluding to the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) campaign fixtures, the Prime Minister invoked the Hindi idiom “Aamdani athanni kharcha rupaiya” (Income is 50 paisa while expenditure is one rupee) and said that the people had realised that short-term policies would inflict a big harm on the country. What would be the situation if such a policy was followed could be seen in India’s neighbourhood, he said, in reference to the financial hardships of countries such as Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
People’s rising anger
The support to the BJP shows the people’s rising anger against dynastic rule and corruption, he said, noting that the party had also won the prestigious Rampur bypoll in Uttar Pradesh.
Mr. Modi said that voters had supported the BJP in the times of crisis as seen in the party’s win in polls held during the COVID pandemic and also the polls that followed in Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Uttarakhand and Manipur, as the world was coming out of the pandemic.
“I bow to the people, their blessing is overwhelming,” he said, adding, “be it villages or cities, the poor or middle class, youth or women, every section of society has supported the BJP.” The party has won 34 of the 40 seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in Gujarat with a thumping majority, he added.
Hailing the verdict in Gujarat, he said that the State’s affection for the BJP despite it being in power for nearly 25 years was unprecedented. He noted that he had urged people to make “Bhupendra [Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel] break all records of Narendra” and they had done it.
In a swipe at the BJP’s critics, the Prime Minister said that the country needs to know the “games” of people who call themselves neutral. There is no discussion on those who lost their deposits in Himachal and Uttarakhand, Mr. Modi said, in an apparent swipe at the media.
“Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has won his seat by almost two lakh votes which is an impressive margin even in a Lok Sabha election,” he said. Thekedars (contractors) have different metrics of evaluating others, he said critically, adding that the BJP has to advance in the face of these zulms (atrocities). Mr. Modi said that he had seen it all as his every move was savaged after 2002, an apparent reference to the communal violence in the State when he was Chief Minister. However, he benefitted from it by being alert all the time and making positive changes in himself, he said, adding that those who are lauded all the time have little chance to correct themselves.
These zulms would now rise against him as well as the BJP, given the party’s continuing success, he claimed, telling party workers to increase their restraint and spirit of service while continuing to work.