Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday used the BJP’s victory in three heartland states to aggressively push his campaign for next year’s general election, stressing that the Assembly poll “hat-trick” had provided the “guarantee of a 2024 hat-trick”.
Modi will next year be striving for a third straight term as Prime Minister, a feat so far achieved only by Jawaharlal Nehru.
In his victory speech at the BJP headquarters, Modi hit out at the Opposition INDIA bloc, accusing it of trying to divide the country on caste lines.
He played up the success of the “Modi ki guarantee” slogan in this round of Assembly polls and predicted a repeat in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
“Modi ki guarantee wali gaadi desh ki safalta ki guarantee banegi. Ye bhi Modi ki guarantee hai (Modi’s guarantee vehicle will become the guarantee for the country’s success. This too is Modi’s guarantee),” he said, drawing applause from party workers.
“Jahan dusron ki ummid khatm hota hai, wahan se Modi ki guarantee shuru hoti hai (Where hope ends for others, Modi’s guarantee begins).”
He urged BJP workers to accompany the “Modi guarantee vehicles” — government vans traversing the country as part of the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra, meant to “saturate” welfare programmes by reaching those left out.
The drive is also being seen as an effort to launch at government expense what is virtually an election campaign.
“Some people say that today’s hat-trick has provided the guarantee of a 2024 hat-trick,” the Prime Minister said amid roars of “Modi, Modi….”
Modi tore into the Opposition’s demands for a countrywide caste census and its stress on OBC politics, accusing the INDIA bloc parties of “dividing the country on caste lines”.
“For me there are only four castes: women, the youth, farmers and the poor,” he said. “In these elections, these four castes have endorsed the BJP’s commitment.”
Modi claimed that women, the youth and tribal voters, in particular, had ensured the BJP’s Assembly election victories this time.
He said the results were a mandate against “corruption, appeasement and dynasty politics”.
“The coming together of some dynastic leaders on one stage can make a good photo-op but it cannot win the trust of the people,” he said.
“People who tarnish investigating agencies should understand that this mandate is for zero tolerance against corruption.”
Opposition parties have long accused the Centre of misusing its investigative agencies, such as the CBI and the ED, to target their leaders.
Modi sought to link the state election victories to his “Vishwaguru” campaign, claiming that the “echo of this victory will travel across the world” and signal to all that India’s democracy had matured and its people were voting for “stable governments”.
Referring to Telangana, where the BJP has put up a forgettable show, Modi sought to take heart from the increased vote share. He said the BJP’s graph continued to rise in Telangana with every election.
“I assure the people of Telangana that the BJP will leave no stone unturned in your service,” he said, speaking a few lines in Telugu.
Earlier, party chief J.P. Nadda had derided Opposition parties’ OBC politics while saying they had forgotten that Modi himself was an OBC.