Ahmedabad: Fresh from his win in Assembly polls, which pitchforked him in the BJP's prime ministerial candidates' race, Chief Minister Narendra Modi said if he had committed any 'mistake', he seeks forgiveness from the people.
"If there has been a mistake somewhere. If I have erred somewhere, I seek apology from you, the six crore Gujaratis," Modi said in a victory speech in Hindi, aiming to reach out to a wider audience.
Modi, who has always been under attack following the 2002 post-Godhara violence, made no mention of it in his 45-minute speech.
"You have given me power. Now you also give me your blessings so that I do not commit any mistake, no one is hurt and there is no mistake by me even unknowingly. When people, who are in fact God give their blessings, there is no possibility of a mistake," the Gujarat Chief Minister said.
Analysts said Modi who spoke in Hindi, when he has stuck to Gujrati during his entire election campaign may be signalling his national ambitions. Taking potshots at his detractors, Modi said he does not need a certificate from anyone after "people have given me the biggest medal".
As the cheering crowd shouted "PM-PM" for Modi, the BJP leader credited his victory to the six crore Gujaratis and his party saying that if he is able to serve Gujarat and take the state to a magnificent level, it was due to the collective strength of people and his party.
Modi said he will visit Delhi on 27 December for a day.
"Gujarat is a role model for the elections. The entire election was fought here on the plank of development. Gujarat has endorsed the plank of development and has voted accordingly.... This victory is not the victory of Narendra Modi but of the six crore Gujaratis and those Indians, who aspire for prosperity and development. This is a victory of all those who wish the country's good," Modi said.
The 62-year-old chief minister, who has no dearth of detractors even within his party, was all humility on the day of victory, crediting the result to 'Team BJP'.
"This is not my strength. This is BJP's strength. This is the Team BJP, this is Team Gujarat, which is serving you and I am just a small part of this team," he said.
He stressed "party is like a mother. Whatever we are, it is because of the party. If the party is not there, we have no worth. It is the result of the hard work done by BJP in last 40-50 years that the party has emerged victorious".
Modi urged people to take Gujarat to such a level of development that it could serve the nation.
"I am serving the country through six crore Gujaratis. We have to create such a Gujarat, which will fulfill the needs of other parts of the countries as well," he said.
The Gujarat Chief Minister added that if the farmers of his state produce more foodgrains, it will feed the poor in the rest of the country, if a factory is built here, it will provide employment to the people from other parts.
"I want to tell every citizen of the country that they should build pressure for good governance and development," he said, adding that politicians of the country should strive with honesty to fulfill the desires of people by eschewing from the practice of giving false slogans and making empty promises.
"If you wish then I will definitely visit Delhi on 27 Dec for a day," Modi said as people shouted slogans hailing Modi as BJP's next PM candidate.
Insisting that he has committed no wrong, Modi said that if he took certain tough decisions, which might have annoyed some sections and residents in some villages, it was for the good of Gujarat.
The Gujarat Chief Minister also took a dig at the media and the intelligentsia alleging that they are "unable to bear with the victory of Gujarat and the BJP".
"I had earlier also said that when people throw stones at me, I build a staircase out of it. The hat-trick that happened today is with these stones. I had told them that the more mudslinging you indulge against me, the more the number of lotus (BJP's poll symbol) will bloom," he said.
Modi also ridiculed contentions that the assembly election results were a draw as BJP has won Gujarat and Congress has wrested Himachal Pradesh from it.
"What an intellectual dishonesty it is. Why are you labouring so hard to show Gujarat in poor light. If you even combine the seats of Congress in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, even then the BJP has got more."
"Have some shame. Even if BJP would have won only 93 seats in the state, then also we would have taken the oath. A victory is a victory," he said, criticising comments on margin of BJP's win in Gujarat.
Modi said that he was listening to the discourse of political pundits on television. "They are still unable to accept victory of Gujarat. I wonder what will happen to them tonight. Whether they will be able to sleep at the night or not," he said sarcastically asking people to pray for such people so that they can have a sound sleep.
In a veiled attack on Congress, which had announced a number of sops including housing for poor in the run-up to polls, Modi said people have understood the benefits of development in the state.
"Gujarat elections have proved that process of democracy has matured here and people have voted by rising above all kind of greeds with a thinking that they will benefit if Gujarat develops," he said.
Attacking the Centre for its schemes, he said "they will keep splurging money but it is the sweat (hardwork) that will emerge victorious." He specially thanked the government employees for their hard work which brought success to the state. "I specially thank all five lakh government employees. I know you have to work even on holidays. Earlier you used to go home by five PM but now you don't go back till 10 PM. By voting for me, you have proved that you are ready to work for the people," he said.
It was being said that government employees are angry and unhappy under the Modi rule, he said, adding, "Today when the postal ballots were opened, everyone was surprised. 70-75 percent votes of the government employees went with the BJP."
Highlighting his ability to take tough decisions for long term benefits, Modi said, "We never took a decision for immediate benefits that is why we were able to take tough decision in the 11-year rule."
It is said that good governance is bad politics, that is why development is never talked about. But people take a decision rising above all this and people of Gujarat have taken this decision, he said.
Praising the voters for making the "right choice", he said "if there is any hero today, it is the six crore Gujaratis".
Gujarat voters have risen over regionalism, casteism. They deserve the accolades and if you want to learn something, you should learn from them, he said. Modi specially thanked women voters, saying "this is the victory of mothers and sisters of Gujarat. They have protected me."
He said the youths carried the entire election on their shoulders and brought success to the party. Targeting opposition, he asked them to recognise the electorate for making a choice.
"I know it's difficult for you. If you don't want to give credit to us, but at least give credit to the intelligence of the voters who elected BJP for the third time," he said.
Connecting the development in the state to the political stability in Gujarat, he said only people make political parties responsible for their acts and decisions.
"People have realised the importance of political stability. The tradition so far in the country has been that one government will come to power and will be replaced by others in five years. But this has not happened here. People know the importance of a stable government," Modi said.