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Modi turns emotional in parliament

Publication Date : 21-05-2014


Narendra Modi will be sworn in as India's prime minister on Monday, putting his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) back in power after a decade in opposition.

The politician known for his macho image fought back tears in a rare display of emotion yesterday as he addressed members of his party and its 29 allies who endorsed him as prime minister.

In his first address in Parliament, the 63-year-old said: "The people have voted for hope and faith. I will do everything to fulfil their aspirations... Indians' hopes and aspirations are embedded in this temple of democracy."

There were also tears in the eyes of several senior BJP leaders.

Modi, who bowed down and touched his head at the entrance of Parliament as a mark of respect, sought to put aside the bitterness of the election campaign, saying the outgoing Congress-led government had done whatever it could for the country.

The BJP romped to a landslide victory while the Congress had its worst electoral showing, winning just 44 seats against 206 five years ago.

BJP's massive win is credited to Modi, the four-time chief minister of Gujarat, who effectively tapped into voters' desires for jobs and development. It also silenced those in the BJP who had opposed his nomination as prime ministerial candidate.

Party patriarch L. K. Advani, who had spearheaded the opposition against Modi's nomination, yesterday proposed that the former tea-seller head the BJP-led alliance in Parliament.

Advani, who never fulfilled his ambition of becoming prime minister, cried as he hugged Modi and hailed him as India's new hope even as talks continued behind closed doors on finding a suitable position for the 86-year- old.

He is said to be eyeing the Speaker's post.

"I have a weakness... I am prone to tears. I thank the party and Narendra Modi for doing the favour of letting me witness an unforgettable moment in our history," said Advani, the strident Hindu nationalist who helped propel the BJP to power in the 1990s.

Since last Friday, Modi has had round after round of meetings with party members and leaders of BJP allies, many of whom have lobbied for ministerial posts, to decide on his incoming Cabinet.

Those in the know say Modi's Cabinet will likely be more streamlined.

There could be a re-organisation of some ministries, with all issues that are related to agriculture brought under the same ministry.

Modi has promised to fix the economy, create jobs and push manufacturing even as he works for all sections of society.

"Narendra Modi had said in Hyderabad - Yes we can... As party president, I can say - Yes, he will. We have seen him perform in Gujarat," said BJP president Rajnath Singh.

Singh also announced that the swearing-in ceremony for the prime minister and his Cabinet members will be attended by 3,000 people.

Modi's speech yesterday had people taking to social networks to share and discuss their next prime minister.

"I am no Modi fan but I was moved by his tears," tweeted Bollywood filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt.

A tongue-in-cheek tweet read: "We are not used to this kind of emotional display from a PM."


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