Win sabka vishwas, give up VIP culture: PM Modi tells party MPs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi address following a meeting with President Ramnath Kovind at Rastrapati Bhawan in New Delhi | PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the mandate of 2019 had increased the aspirations of the people and called for a people’s movement for a samruddha Bharat, to make India prosperous, by 2022, the 75th year of India’s independence. The PM also amended the slogan of his first government — sabka saath, sabka vikas — to add that the new government would win sabka vishwas.

In the evening, President Ram Nath Kovind, exercising powers vested in him under Article 75 (1) of the Constitution, appointed Modi PM-elect and asked him to form the new government. This was after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs, and also of its allies, unanimously elected Modi their leader amid chants of “Modi, Modi” and Bharat Mata ki Jai in Parliament’s Central Hall. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders later met the President to submit a letter in this regard.

After he was elected the leader in Central Hall, Modi bowed in front of a copy of the Constitution of India and then addressed the newly elected MPs. In an hour-long speech, Modi tried to allay the fears of the minorities after the BJP’s spectacular electoral win.

The PM said the government from 2014 to 2019 was dedicated to the welfare of the poor and tried to ensure the delivery of basic services. “The country’s poor have now brought us back,” he said. The PM said the poor had been misled in the last 70 years, and so were the minorities. He said the minorities should have had access to better education and amenities but they were exploited in the name of vote-bank politics by people who scared them by conjuring up “imaginary fears”. 

He asked his MPs to break this deception and win the trust of the minorities. He appealed for the revival of the spirit of the first war of independence of 1857 when all communities came together to fight the British. He said the slogan of his government was not just sabka saath, sabka vikas, but also winning sabka vishwas, or the trust of all communities.

The PM advised his MPs to abjure VIP culture and respect queues in airports lest someone was to make a video clip and post it on social media, and be careful in what they utter to the media, particularly television channels. Modi told them not to trust the media on the formation of the council of ministers and be wary of people who promise that they could secure for them a ministerial berth. “Newspapers neither make ministers nor lose them the job,” he said.

Modi asked the MPs to follow the ideologies of Mahatma Gandhi, Deendayal Upadhyaya and Ram Manohar Lohia, as also B R Ambedkar, who has had an imprint on the Constitution. 

In his speech, the PM also congratulated the Election Commission for conducting a smooth election. The EC had come in for much criticism from opposition parties during the elections. 

Modi repeatedly warned the MPs not to allow power to go to their heads, to be wary of arrogance, spurn satta bhav and serve with seva bhav.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during the NDA parliamentary board meeting at Parliament House, in New Delhi | PTI
Modi said usually elections widened the gulf between the people, but the 2019 polls had broken walls and unified them. He said the people of the country were active participants in his first government from 2014 to 2019, and he won on a “pro-incumbency” wave.

The PM asked the MPs to work and win the confidence of not just who supported them, but also those who did not but could in future. He said the increase in BJP’s vote share between 2014 and 2019 was nearly 25 per cent. To understand the scale of this, it was equal to the entire vote share US President Donald Trump received in 2016, the PM said. He said the BJP won more than 50 per cent votes in 17 states.

Modi said the next Lok Sabha will have the highest number of women. The PM also stressed how coalition politics was important for India. “I am stating this after the BJP has won 303 seats. This shows my commitment to gathbandhan,” he said. He said national ambition and regional aspirations – NARA, or slogan, as he put – were two tracks of a railway line to achieve development. He said the NDA has both energy and synergy.

The PM spoke at some length warning his MPs not to speak out of turn to the media. He said media would try to mislead them into uttering something irresponsible. He said for the last 70 years the BJP’s rivals had nursed the media and it could not support them.

Before the speech, BJP chief Amit Shah proposed Modi’s name as the leader of the BJP parliamentary party with Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari seconding the proposal. Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal proposed Modi’s name as the leader of the NDA parliamentary party and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray, Ram Vilas Paswan and others seconding the proposal.

Earlier in the day, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra met the President to submit a copy of the notification containing the names of the newly elected Lok Sabha MPs. The President had dissolved the 16th Lok Sabha on Friday night.

The PM and his council of ministers is expected to take the oath of office on Thursday. The PM is to visit Gujarat on Sunday. He will also visit his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi next week.