CM seeks pardon for ‘mistakes’, says victory is for Kerala to J&K

Chief Minister Narendra Modi's BJP government in Gujarat was voted back to power for the third straight term on Thursday, galvanising his supporters to raise the pitch to make him the party's prime ministerial candidate in 2014.

Modi himself suggested that the verdict was his launch pad for a larger, national role, even though the BJP tally of 115 seats was two fewer than in 2007, and some distance from an emphatic sweep predicted by some exit polls on TV.

The results were seen as a clear vote for Modi's "development and inclusive growth" plank. They also seemed to back the cult of personality that was a noticeable feature of the election campaign.

The state rejected a third force, but did not throw out the Congress's 'dream home' promise. It also showed that it did not mind taking along veterans such as Keshubhai Patel. Besides Patel, Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela won, although the party's chief Arjun Modhwadia and its legislature party leader Shaktisinh Gohil, lost. Even BJP state president R C Faldu lost.

While Modi described the victory as a "hat-trick", the Congress bettered its tally to 61, two seats more than in 2007, in a house with a total 182 seats. Political observers said this suggests that the opposition in the new Gujarat assembly could be powered by leaders with a RSS background, with Vaghela possibly leading the Congress and Keshubhai on the same side.

Speaking in Hindi outside the BJP headquarters in Khanpur after the victory, Modi mocked "poll pundits for getting it wrong" and asked people to "forgive him for any mistake that he might have made" as the crowd roared "NM for PM" .

It is the closest Modi has come to apologising for the 2002 communal riots.

While the BJP in Delhi was guarded about Modi being the party's PM candidate in 2014, Modi made no bones about his ambition. He asked voters to "send out this message of development to the country". "This victory is for the people of India. For those in Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, wherever in the country and who want development," Modi said.

"If India is in any kind of want or need then Gujarat should be able to reach out and provide a solution. I have chosen this path to serve Mother India and through this decision voters in Gujarat have paved the way for me to work for the country," he said. "I have often heard that good economics is bad politics. Let everyone from Assam to Kerala to Kashmir know that my voters in Gujarat have proved this idea to be wrong. They have embraced development...and this has sent a message to the people of India."

Repeatedly crediting "voters" for his victory, Modi called the 6 crore Gujaratis, "God" and asked them to "bless him so that he does not make any mistake in the future". He added that the BJP was his "maa" and went on to thank the "mothers and sisters" and "youth", covering the BJP's loyal votebank. He also specially thanked the "karmayogis" (government employees) as he said 75 per cent of the postal ballots were in the BJP's favour.

Also, Modi's website had a new slogan: "Aage kadam", and Modi tweeted it as "Forward", which was the slogan for US President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

Earlier in the day, after the results came in, Modi met Patel and congratulated him and the state information bureau circulated pictures of the two laughing and sharing sweets.

Patel's GPP won two seats, Visavadar and Dhari, while the Nationalist Congress Party also won two, one of which is Kutiyana, won by 'Godmother' Santokben Jadeja's son Kandhal. Umreth was won by NCP state president Jayant Patel.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.