A day after leading the BJP to a historic victory in state assembly elections, PM Narendra Modi emphasised that enhancing opportunities for the poor remained the cornerstone of his vision for a New India as the country approaches the 75th year of its Independence in 2022.
The prime minister, however, also stressed that the focus on the poor was not going to mean a permanent burden for the relatively better-off and suggested that a rising tide will lift all boats. He also sought to heal schisms by saying that Bharatiya Janata Party governments would be for all, not just those who voted for the party .
“I find great potential among the poor. More the poor get the opportunity, the country will progress faster as well. The poor are the strength of this country,“ Modi said in his first public address after the election results were announced on Saturday.
BJP swept to victory in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere, putting him in a strong position ahead of the 2019 general elections.
“At times, the middle class bears a larger burden, say , in tax, rules, etc... Once the poor are able to take care of themselves, the burden of the middle class will go down,“ the PM said at the BJP headquarters in Delhi, acknowledging that this would help them progress faster.
The elections were a watershed as people turned out in large numbers because the single biggest issue is development.
“We have seen emotive issues creating electoral waves,“ Modi said. “In the past, development used to be a passing reference in elections... but there was high voter turnout without any emotive issue. The poor turning out in large numbers for development presents the image of a New India.“
This vision encompasses the dreams of large swathes of the population -people below 35 years, women and the poor seeking better opportunities, he said.
“The poor have moved away from the tendency to seek doles.They want the opportunity to work hard. This is the foundation of New India,“ Modi said. BJP has projected its stellar performance as a vindication of the prime minister's pro-poor initiatives.
Modi said the new BJP governments will leave no stone unturned in their bid to live up to the expectations of the electorate even as he cautioned party cadres to be responsible in the wake of the massive trust reposed by the public in the party. He also seemed to make a conscious attempt to reach across social and political divides.
“The BJP governments will be for those who voted for BJP as well as for those who did not vote for it. Sarkar ko bhedbhav ka haq nahi hai. BJP will not tolerate any discrimination,“ he said.