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Fast over, but WILL continue my mission: Narendra Modi

Last updated on: September 20, 2011 00:49 IST

Fast over, but WILL continue my mission: Narendra Modi

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Attempting an image makeover, Narendra Modi on Monday wound up his three-day fast for communal harmony, claiming that his government made no distinction between minority and majority communities and skirted the issue of his being in the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial race.

Taking the stage after a speech by party leader M Venkaiah Naidu, the Gujarat chief minister said his fast should not be viewed from the prism of politics but from that of national interest.

The 54-year-old leader, who announced his fast plans after the Supreme Court refused to pass any orders against him in the Ehsan Jafri murder case, carefully avoided any reference about him being in the race for the top post.


Image: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray with Narendra Modi at the fast venue
Photographs: Reuben Varghese
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'People of all faiths are here'

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"The inspiration behind this sadbhavna (goodwill) mission is rashtra-neeti (national interest) and not rajneeti (politics)," Modi said while vowing again to end votebank politics.

The chief minister, who has often come under attack for the 2002 post-Godhra violence that claimed the lives of over a thousand Muslims, said that people of different faiths have supported him in the fast.

In his 30-minute speech, he again did not offer any regret or apology over the violence that followed the train carnage.

"People of all faiths are here. It is not just an overnight phenomenon. It is the fruit of 10 years of labour that my government has done. I have given them the reason for this faith," he claimed.


Image: BJP leader Sushma Swaraj with Narendra Modi at the fast venue
Photographs: Reuben Varghese
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'No doubt Modi is prime ministerial material'

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Earlier, the chief minister broke his fast after sipping from a glass of lemon juice offered by men of various faiths as top BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu and Gopinath Munde watched.

While Swaraj praised his role in the governance of the state, Naidu referred to "a lot of discussion" on whether Modi is a prime ministerial candidate for the party.

"Is there any doubt about it? No doubt he is prime ministerial material. He has all the characteristics of being a PM. BJP has Modi, who does Congress have," Naidu said, urging the chief minister to be ready for "national service".

Claiming that he did not make any discrimination between majority and minority communities, Modi narrated an instance when he surprised Justice R S Sachar and his team, who asked him what his government was doing for minorities.


Image: BJP's Shaina N C at Narendra Modi's fast venue
Photographs: Reuben Varghese
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'My government is working for six crore Gujaratis'

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"My government is not doing anything for minorities. I have not done anything for the majority community also. My government is working for six crore Gujaratis. We work for all without discrimination," he said.

"Everything to be weighed as majority or minority is votebank politics. This path is not acceptable to me. All residents of Gujarat are my own. All their pain is ours. All their pleasures are ours. All their dreams are also ours," he said.  

Modi attempted to portray that he followed an alternative development model devoid of votebank politics.

"We have religiously practiced this inclusive development for the last ten years, we have worked hard for a decade to earn the faith and trust of the people," Modi said.


Image: One of Narendra Modi's supporters
Photographs: Reuben Varghese
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'We need to move beyond votebank politics'

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"It is unfortunate that in the last 60 years almost every government has worked with an objective to win the next election. We have wasted 60 years like this. So the development takes place in patches," Modi said.

"Votebank politics has been defining economic development since last 60 years. We need to move beyond votebank politics to developmental politics," Modi said.

"This three-day fast was conducted to bring to the notice of the world how this inclusive developmental politics has helped the people of Gujarat to visualise and realise their dreams. I would not have been able to bring it to the notice of the nation by conducting 40 press conferences," Modi said.

The fast saw a galaxy of BJP leaders praising the chief minister. It was also marked by controversies as riot victims were not allowed to protest on the second day of the fast.


Image: Actress Hema Malini with Narendra Modi
Photographs: Reuben Varghese
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'Sadbhavna mission will continue'

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Modi also refused to put on a 'skull cap', presented by a cleric.

"We in Gujarat wanted a government which does not function to win elections. We wanted to increase the participation of the people which itself will usher in development," Modi said.

Pitching for a development model, Modi said that the, "Fast may end today but the sadbhavna mission will continue. Nobody might have imagined that this thought of sadbhavna mission will stir the interest of the entire country".


Image: Republican Party of India president Ramdas Athavale with Narendra Modi
Photographs: Reuben Varghese
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'I have experienced the strength of unity'

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"I will take this mission to each and every district of the state and sit for a day to extend the case of peace, unity and harmony," Modi said.

Modi said that he wanted every person in the 18,000 villages in Gujarat to become a game-changer.

"I have experienced the strength of unity and peace and harmony. I want to take Gujarat to new heights and take this mission forward," Modi further said.


Image: Narendra Modi's supporters at the fast venue
Photographs: Reuben Varghese
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