New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) felicitation ceremony on Thursday for re-elected Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi served to show the support he has among the party cadre for him taking up a larger, national role.
Modi is seen as the BJP’s most likely prime ministerial candidate if the party wins the general election in 2014.
Party workers put up several posters congratulating Modi at the central headquarters at 11, Ashoka Road, in the capital. An almost life-size photograph of Modi and former BJP prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee dominated the stage, with smaller pictures of top party leaders L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley in the background. None of them attended the event.
Sloganeering at the event included chants like “Hamara pradhaan mantri kaisa ho, Narendra Modi jaisa ho” (Our prime minister should be like Narendra Modi). Workers also interrupted BJP president Nitin Gadkari’s speech with slogans of “Prime minister, prime minister”. Gadkari in his speech said Modi’s win in Gujarat was an inspiration for the party workers.
The chief minister in his speech recalled his days at the central headquarters as a party worker. “I’ve spent precious years of my life at 11, Ashoka Road. I was this person who would sit in one corner, working behind scenes, in the background,” he told the gathering. “It is the strength of the organization that has brought me till here.”
Modi, who was in Delhi to attend the National Development Council (NDC) meeting, targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying he was not doing enough for the country’s development. “I went to the NDC meeting today and I told the Prime Minister that the position from where he is speaking, this country will be more gloomy. I told him that he has no thought and no vision for the country and in this way this country will not progress,” he said.
Sahil Makkar contributed to the story.