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How Modi pledged to make Modi the Prime Minister

BJP rehashes 2014 slogan for its ‘battle of Panipat’

By J.P. Yadav in New Delhi
  • Published 12.01.19, 3:47 AM
  • Updated 12.01.19, 5:09 PM
  • 3 mins read
Narendra Modi at the BJP’s national convention meeting in Delhi. (PTI)

Not once but twice, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday raised his clenched fists and joined others in a pledge to make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister again.

The pledge was in response to Amit Shah’s call at the BJP’s national convention meeting that appeared to be an effort to pep up party workers for the “battle of Panipat”.

The BJP president invoked the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761 to underline the importance of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. He said the elections would be a “decisive battle” for the BJP and the country. He reminded party leaders how one defeat for the Marathas in the Third Battle of Panipat had led to 200 years of slavery.

Shah sought to energise party leaders and workers gathered from across the country at the Ramlila grounds in New Delhi by asking them to raise their hands with fists clenched and pledge with all their might to bring the BJP back to power with full majority and make Modi Prime Minister again.

Modi, who was seated on the dais flanked by senior leaders and chief ministers, raised his clenched-fisted hands to take the pledge to bring the BJP back to power and had only brought them down to his head when Shah thundered: “Do you pledge to bring Modiji back as PM?” Modi raised his hands again from that position and clenched his fists, albeit a bit slowly.

Earlier too during Shah’s speech, Modi had joined the others to raise his clenched fists to pledge to bring the BJP back to power and make him Prime Minister. Shah repeated the “Bharat mata ki jai” slogan several times with his fists raised.

The two-day national convention meeting that began on Friday is being seen as an attempt to boost the morale of BJP leaders and workers ahead of the polls later this year.

The party has coined the slogan “Abki baar, phir Modi sarkar (This time, once again Modi government)”. Many felt the recycled slogan is a pale continuation of the catchy “Abki baar, Modi sarkar” of 2014.

The Ramlila grounds was chosen as the venue of the meeting since the last such convention, ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, had been held at the same place. BJP leaders felt an encore would once again ensure the party got majority on its own.

Shah, too, expressed such an ambition and asked party workers to gear up for a bigger victory.

Delivering the inaugural speech, the BJP chief appeared to be striving hard to charge up the crowd.

There was a loud cheer when Modi stepped onto the stage, but there was none of the euphoria of 2014 when the crowd had kept chanting his name.

Before beginning his formal speech, Shah delivered a “special thank you” to Modi for the government’s move to introduce a 10 per cent quota in government jobs and higher education for the economically backward among the general category population and the latest GST reforms.

Shah termed the two decisions “historic” and asked the BJP’s top leadership and its chief ministers to join him in congratulating Modi with a huge garland.

Shah assured BJP leaders and workers that the party’s victory in the general election was a foregone conclusion because they had the “world’s most popular leader” in Modi. Added to that were the achievements of the Modi regime and the vision for a “New India”, which had made the BJP unbeatable, according to the party president.

“I have been working with Modiji since 1986. Since then he has not lost even a single election,” Shah said.

Shah said the 2019 polls would be a “Modi-versus-all” election and that the Opposition, which he called a group of opportunistic leaders hankering for power, was no match since they didn’t have a leader to equal the Prime Minister.

Shah said the Congress and the Samajwadi Party had united in Uttar Pradesh in the Assembly polls but still the BJP won 325 seats. “We are working to secure 50 per cent votes in UP,” he said, and claimed that the BJP would win 74 of the 80 seats in the heartland state and bag 350 of the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies in the country.

Shah’s speech, which continued for over an hour, did not seem to enthuse the crowd as much as the party managers would have liked.

He sounded repetitive in recalling the various schemes of the Modi government and slamming the Congress for perpetrating “one-family rule”.

The loudest cheer came when Shah spoke of a Ram temple and said the BJP was committed to build the shrine at the “very spot” (the disputed land in Ayodhya). He accused the Congress of trying to put roadblocks in the path.

The chants of “Jai Shri Ram”, interspersed with “ho, ho”, appeared more to press for early construction of a Ram temple than lauding the government for its role.

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