Narendra Modi had to be emotional. Fighting the media, sailing against trends where only the rich and powerful are able to navigate in state and national politics, Modi brewed his own cocktail of ideas and formulae. He has reached here on his own strength, intellect, cunning and merit, says Sheela Bhatt/Rediff.com
This was the biggest moment in Narendra Modi's life.
He has been invited by President Pranab Mukherjee to form the government.
In front of dozens of television cameras, in the forecourt of the majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan, Modi demonstrated pride on his face.
Earlier in the day, inside Parliament's Central Hall, all the MPs of his party and of the National Democratic Alliance unanimously selected Modi as their leader. On the basis of that, President Mukherjee invited him to form the government.
For this stupendous success he has toiled untiringly since L K Advani made the mother of all political blunders in Pakistan in June 2005.
Modi assessed that there was nobody who can measure up to Advani in the Bharatiya Janata Party. After Atal Bihari Vajpayee's retirement, Advani was the most powerful and most revered leader within the BJP.
Then Advani's political gamble to call Mohammad Ali Jinnah secular in an attempt to tone down his Ayodhya image failed spectacularly.
Since that day Modi has never looked back. He walked, and then ran, to close the distance between Advani and him. Today Modi has crossed the finishing line in that marathon.
Finally Modi has reached the top. He is on top of the saffron world and as a bonus he also leads the biggest political alliance in Parliament in three decades.
How can he not cry, today?
For he has reached here on his own strength, intellect, cunning and merit.
There were bound to be memorable moments because Modi was entering Parliament for the first time. It was hard-won recognition after facing the wrath of the same people who were sitting alongside him and in front of him. Like L K Advani, who was to his left, and Sushma Swaraj, Murli Manohar Joshi and Nitin Gadkari who were sitting facing him in the front row.
Modi had to be emotional. Fighting the media, sailing against trends where only the rich and powerful are able to navigate in state and national politics, Modi brewed his own cocktail of ideas and formulae and hit the Congress by adopting even a few of its tricks -- like sewing interesting caste alignments and allies in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
His predicament and his triumph both showed in his speech. He mentioned with emphasis the poor people of India. On this important day Modi said, 'A new hope has arisen in the common man. This is the biggest significance of this election result. At the end of the day for whom is the government? It is for the poor. The new government will dedicate itself to the poor, the youth and for the safety and security of the mothers and sisters, those in the rural areas, the oppressed and the deprived.'
It was a moment that could touch hearts if seen through close-up shots of the man of the moment. The media could not hear Modi's speech properly because the sound system in Parliament was faulty. However, in political events like these, more than words the events are overwhelmed by the body language of the political leader who is at the centre of national focus.
Inside Central Hall, Modi showed his warmth and hugged only a select few. The rest was a formality and sometimes it was forced smiles, hugs and handshakes.
Modi gave a warm hug to the Telugu Desam Party's Nara Chandrababu Naidu and Tamil actor-turned-politician Vijaykanth of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam. Also, he paid heartfelt compliments to Pondicherry Chief Minister N Rangaswami. And when Anupriya Patel of the Apna Dal greeted him, Modi tenderly blessed her.
Needless to say, he was cold to Uddhav Thackeray who wanted to see Sushma Swaraj as the NDA's prime ministerial candidate.
Amit Shah, who was sitting in the front row, was most sought after by BJP MPs. Many young MPs were seen touching his feet.
Advani, who lost out to Modi in the attempt to lead the BJP and NDA, showed in one nano moment his displeasure when he reminded the audience that even though he was proposing (prastav rakh raha hoon) the name of Modi as leader of the BJP parliamentary party, it was already destined because his party had already chosen him as its prime ministerial candidate. He was implying that the decision taken at Goa, when Modi was declared the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, was a fait accompli.
After saying so, Advani formally proposed Modi's name as leader of the BJP parliamentary party.
In fact, the Central Hall had so many new faces that it gave an idea of the times to come. Modi and Amit Shah planned the election in such a way that 70 plus MPs were elected only because the people wanted the BJP's lotus or Modi. Never before has the Central Hall of Parliament seen so many BJP MPs.
The message from Central Hall was that a new era has dawned in New Delhi. There are many surprises in store.
One not so big surprise will be that Modi will rule the BJP as superstar Amitabh Bachchan ruled Bollywood for years.
When Bachchan was at the top, from positions two to 10 there was nobody who could come close to him. Here, Modi is at number one to 10 and there is nobody in the 11th position.
Image: Narendra Modi breaks down during his speech in the Central Hall of Parliament.