Emo­tions Ran High Dur­ing Speech

The Economic Times - - Econ­omy -

The ges­ture of re­spect while en­ter­ing Par­lia­ment was as tra­di­tional cul­tur­ally as it was po­lit­i­cally unique — political lead­ers have not been known to “pay re­spect” to In­dia’s democ­racy in such a dra­matic fash­ion.

Emo­tions were high dur­ing Modi’s ac­cep­tance speech to BJP’s par­lia­men­tary board, for Modi and for as­sem­bled Bharatiya Janata Partylead­ers, when he said it was not he who did a favour to the party — as LK Ad­vani had said in his speech — but it was the party that did a favour to him. De­ploy­ing again a cul­tur­ally well-un­der­stood metaphor — re­spect for moth­er­hood — the PM-des­ig­nate said, “…like In­dia is my mother, BJP is my mother, too…how can a son do a favour to a mother?” It was BJP that made a “poor boy” reach where he has to­day, Modi said.

And Modi, in a sub­tle but pow­er­ful mes­sage, telling his party col­leagues that post vic­tory, BJP should be about col­lec­tive unity, not per­sonal di­vi­sions. “You can see me be­cause party el­ders have put me on their shoul­ders,” Modi said, and he more than once thanked party el­ders and in­voked Atal Bi­hari Va­j­payee, the only other BJP PM in In­dia. This was Modi telling his party that every­one’s on board as he gets to as­sume prime min­is­ter­ship. The take-no-prisoners politi­cian who fought in­ter­nal lead­er­ship bat­tles in the party was not in sight. Nei­ther was there any ev­i­dence of the Modi who fought a bit­ter bat­tle of words with Nehru-Gand­his and their govern­ment. “Nei­ther me nor BJP feels that the last govern­ment did noth­ing. Every govern­ment has con­trib­uted to In­dia’s growth. I con­grat­u­late pre­vi­ous lead­ers, we will take their good work for­ward,” Modi said, who will be ad­min­is­tered the oath of of­fice by Pres­i­dent Pranab Mukher­jee on May 26 at 6 pm. This re­mark­ably states­man-like ob­ser­va­tion was fol­lowed up with a stress on work­ing to­gether. “The coun­try has al­ready moved ahead, now it is up to us whether we want to move or not. I want to as­sure the peo­ple, let’s for­get neg­a­tiv­ity… what­ever may have hap­pened in the past. This is an era of re­spon­si­bil­ity. It has al­ready be­gun.” Equally sig­nif­i­cant was the mes­sage car­ried by his re­marks that his will be a govern­ment for the poor. “We want every­one to progress, but we also want to take every­one along. We want to move for­ward with this slo­gan, ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’.” Modi, hailed by busi­ness and mar­kets, was here giv­ing an early sig­nal that in op­tics and in poli­cies his govern­ment will be far more than the la­bel of “probusi­ness” his crit­ics of­ten have for him. There was also his more usual stress on Indians’ “in­nate tal­ent” and the im­por­tance of cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for such tal­ent in In­dia, he re­marked, as he has done many times ear­lier, that he’s an op­ti­mist and the coun­try needs op­ti­mism. But it was the si­mul­ta­ne­ous stress on en­cour­ag­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties — a re­mark that’s pro-en­tre­pre­neur­ial — and work­ing for the poor — a very strong political-eco­nomic mes­sage — that, among other rea­sons, made this speech both im­por­tant and im­pres­sive.

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