Before big day, Modi is at home
It was an evening of nostalgia and symbolism for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he visited his home state Gujarat, a day after being appointed as the PM-elect by President Ram Nath Kovind. After reaching Ahmedabad, Modi paid his respects at the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and then proceeded to the BJP office in Kanpur, where he started his career in the mid-80s.
Accompanied by party president Amit Shah, Modi spoke about his quandary to come here just a day after the fire tragedy in Surat. He, however, said that his duty to his motherland and his desire to meet his mother was also a factor and he decided to come. The celebration was relatively low key without music, drums and firecrackers, in order to honour the memory of the lives lost in Surat.
Modi's thanked the people of Gujarat in blessing him to soar the heights of political success. More than once, he made a reference to West Bengal, and in fact concluded his speech on the note that people should shout about 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' so loudly that their voices reached all the way to Bengal.
He said the next five years will be the time to regain the rightful position of India in the world order. "Next five years will be the time to regain the rightful position of India in the world order. In the past our country had that place. I am sure India will regain its importance in the world order," Modi said.
He also expressed grief over the death of 22 students in Surat building fire tragedy. "Till yesterday, I was in two minds whether to go for this felicitation function or not as on one hand, there was 'kartvya' (duty) and on the other hand, there was 'karuna' (compassion) for those who died in Surat. No amount of words can reduce the grief of the families who have lost their children in that tragedy," he said.
"On the other hand, I had to thank the people of the state and also take blessings of my mother as my duty," the prime minister added. After the public address, he went inside the office and waved from the iconic balcony of the office to an uproarious crowd of BJP workers.
Later, he went to meet his mother, seeking blessings, a ritual he follows before and after every crucial electoral battle. He will stay overnight at the Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar and leave for Varanasi early on Monday morning.