Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday told the BJP MPs not to address him as “Shri or aadarniya (respected) Modi ji” and said that it was “teamwork” that had led to victory in the Assembly polls, seeking to ironically stress humility amid a clear effort by the Modi-Amit Shah duo to consolidate power using the recent electoral success.
“I am a small ‘karyakarta’ (worker) of the party. The people also think that I am a part of their family. Don’t add honorifics like Shri and aadarniya as people consider me one among them,” Modi was learnt to have said, addressing a BJP parliamentary party meet, the first after the party swept the three heartland states.
At the meet, the BJP MPs gave a standing ovation to Modi, clapping and chanting: “Modi ji ka swagat hai” and “Ek hi guarantee, Modi ki guarantee” (Only guarantee, Modi’s guarantee), a clear effort to give all the credit to Modi for the poll victories. BJP chief J.P. Nadda felicitated Modi.
Addressing the meeting, Modi, however, chose to credit “teamwork” and “team spirit” for the runaway victory in the three heartland states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — and urged the MPs to continue the spirit to face the Lok Sabha polls next year.
Modi’s bid to sound humble and credit “teamwork”, however, was in sharp contrast to his posturing while addressing the partymen at the BJP headquarters on result day. On that day, an aggressive Modi had sought to credit everything to “Modi ki guarantee…”. “Where hope ends for others, Modi’s guarantee begins,” he had said, stressing that “Modi’s guarantee” was a “guarantee for the country’s development”. Party leaders felt that Modi’s address on Thursday was to balance his earlier speech and win the hearts of party workers by calling himself a “small party worker” ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
According to MPs present at the closed-door meeting, Modi used data to claim that the BJP had become the most preferred party of the people because of its good governance model. He said that getting re-elected after being in power for more than one term showed that the voters were endorsing the party’s governance.
Modi, the party MPs said, stressed that the data showed that the BJP’s record was at 57 per cent in getting elected for a second consecutive term while that of the Congress was just 20 per cent and for regional parties it was 49 per cent.
Urging the MPs to increase their contact with the masses, he particularly asked them to participate in the Vikshit Bharat Sankalp Yatra and ensure that the message of the “Modi guarantee” vans travelling across the country reaches the maximum number of people in their area. The Sankalp Yatra is a government programme aimed at saturating the government’s welfare schemes by enrolling those left out but it is informally being used for campaigning, eyeing the Lok Sabha polls next year.