In 30 minutes, Modi names himself 29 times, BJP 6, and in slip asks: me as PM?

Bapu Nagar in the Rakhiyal Assembly segment in the city is Modi's last stop for the day. The crowd's waiting, roaring. It takes a few minutes for the roar to subside and Narendra Modi opens his eleventh speech of the day sharp at 9.30 pm.

With "Bharat mata ki jai" all his speeches open and end on that note and the crowd jumping and screaming, Modi works up a frenzy and fantasy that pits him against the rest of the world. He is up against everyone for the pride and dignity of Gujaratis, protecting them from terrorists. But Delhi, he says, is against him. At 10 pm, he stops speaking. He says the "Election Commission does not allow" him to speak after 10 pm.

Exactly 30 minutes. He spoke only that long last night. But in those 30 minutes, he mentioned the BJP six times, the lotus (the party election symbol) twice and Modi 29 times. The entire speech was in any case all about himself, in first person. He named no opponents other than Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. "The Congress leader who talked about Hindu terrorism" remained anonymous.

He mentioned the BJP in the very first sentence "BJP president Rajnath Singhji is with us today." The second mention was in the 26th minute. "Don't you want a BJP government?," he asked. When the crowd said yes, he repeated the question four times.

Then a string of questions. "Do you want Modi to be CM? Do you trust Modi? Do you love Modi? Don't you think Modi lives only for Gujarat? Don't you think Modi will die for Gujarat?" The answer to all was "Yeeeees." The huge crowd trusted Modi, loved Modi, was willing to die for Modi.

"He is like a rock star. People have heard the song, but will die to hear it live," says a key BJP strategist. In 2002, Modi was holding forth on Gujarat's progress in drug manufacturing before an audience of doctors. A doctor interrupted to say. "Leave all that, sir. Talk about Mian Musharraf." This election, Modi has popularised a couplet: Hu nathi khatho, kui ne nathi khava detho I don't plunder, I don't let others plunder. Now Modi only has to say the first line. The crowd finishes the rest.

It's not BJP versus Congress. "Compare the last five years with the 45 years of Congress rule," he says. That makes only 50 years of the 57 years of the republic. The BJP's other seven years is not accounted for in Modi's speech. "In 45 years, Rs 10,000 crore was spent on Narmada project. In the last five years, I spent Rs 13,000 crore. For 45 years, 1200 teachers were appointed yearly. I appointed one lakh in five years," he said.

Modi wanted the cameras alert before slamming Sonia Gandhi. "Sonia said Modi is maut ka saudagar. Another leader said Gujaratis are Hindu terrorists. Is the one who you trusted with your government a maut ka saudagar?"

"Noooo."

"Are you Hindu?" "

"Yeees"

"Are you terrorist?

"Noooo"

"Merchant of death, terrorist Afzal Guru is being protected by the Congress. Why is Sonia Gandhi not hanging him?"

Therefore, he says, they should punish Sonia and all others who "insulted" Gujarat. "The PM said he would open post-Godhra cases and punish the guilty. If anyone has evidence, they can cut me into four pieces." The Congress, he says, wants to try him in an international court.

"Last four years, they have been ruling Delhi but did not have the guts to touch Modi." All state chief ministers, he says, are coming to defeat him in Gujarat. "All of them together are no match for Modi."

"Do you want development and peace? Employment? Prosperity? Healthcare? My desires and your desires are the same. If you want Modi, no prayers, no fasting, no Amba Devi, no Santoshi Maa can get you that. You have to come out in large numbers and vote on the 16th."

Each word, each sentence of that 30 minute speech was rehearsed, modulated to perfection. Yet a slip of tongue gave away the well-known secret ambition. As he ended his speech, he asked: "Do you want Modi to be Pradhan... er Mukhya Mantri?"

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