Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted on Thursday the results of two state assembly elections and several bypolls highlight people's support to the Bharatiya Janata Party's vision and commitment to development rising above social "faultlines", 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, he said in his address to BJP workers at the party's headquarters after the BJP wrote new records in his home state by winning over 155 seats and fetching over 52 per cent of votes.
The BJP lost to the Congress in Himachal Pradesh though.
While the people of Gujarat have "broken records in breaking new records", the BJP fell behind the Congress by less than one per cent votes in Himachal Pradesh, he noted and said his party's win in Kurhani bypoll in Bihar against the combined might of the grand alliance of the Rashtriya Janata Dal-Janata Dal United-Congress is an indication of the times to come in the state.
In an apparent attack on the Aam Aadmi Party, Modi invoked the Hindi idiom "Aamdani athanni kharcha rupaiya" and said people have realised that short-term politics will inflict a big harm on the country. What will be the situation if such a policy is followed can be seen in our neighbourhood, he said in reference to financial hardships in countries like Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The support to the BJP shows people's rising anger against dynasty rule and corruption, he said, noting that the party also won the prestigious Rampur bypoll in Uttar Pradesh.
He said attempts were made to fail the BJP-run municipal corporation in the national capital and people were cheated in the process, a reference to his party's charge that the AAP government in Delhi denied funds worth hundreds of crores owed to it. The AAP has ended the BJP's 15-year-reign in the local body and has also got nearly 13 per cent votes in Gujarat.
"There is no doubt in people's mind that if the country is prosperous, everyone's prosperity is guaranteed," he said, asserting that voters have supported the BJP in the times of crisis as seen in the party's win in polls held during the Covid pandemic and also when it is working to fulfil their aspirations with a vision of developed India.
The ruling party is working to empower the poor, taking all basic facilities to people and, at the some time, building modern infrastructure in sectors like roads, rail, airports and optical fibre, he said.
"I bow to people, their blessing is overwhelming," he said.
"Be it villages or cities, the poor of middle class, youth or women, every section of society has supported the BJP," he said.
The BJP has won 34 of 40 seats reserved for the SCs and STs in Gujarat in a thumping majority, he added.
The prime minister also accused the BJP's rivals of exploiting social faultlines and divisions for political gains in the name of language, region, lifestyle, eating habits or communities.
People, especially the youth, can see through it, he said, adding that his party got support among over one crore young voters in Gujarat who have seen only its rule because they can see its work.
"India's future can be bright not by raising fault lines but by erasing them. Hundreds of reasons exist for fighting but one reason is enough for us to unite, which is our motherland India. We have to move ahead with the goal of 'India First'," he said.
Hailing the verdict in Gujarat, he said the state's affection for the BJP despite it being in power for nearly 25 years is unprecedented.
He noted that he had urged people to make "Bhupendra (Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel) break all records of Narendra" and they have done it.
In a swipe at the BJP's critics, he said 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, Modi said, a likely reference to the AAP's rout in these states after it made tall claims on its prospects there.
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, adding critically that thekedar (contractors) have different metrics of evaluating others and the BJP has to advance in the face of these zulm (atrocities).
The prime minister said 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, but he benefitted from it by being alert all the time and making positive changes in himself.
Those who are lauded all the time have little chance to correct themselves, he added.
These "zulm" will now rise against him as well as the BJP, he claimed, telling party workers to increase their restraint and spirit of service while continuing to work.