Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Monday evening, ended his three-day long fast saying that ‘Sadbhavana’ has united the nation.
The Chief Minister, who initiated his ‘Sadbhavana’ fast to promote “peace, harmony and unity” across the state of Gujarat on September 17, ended it by drinking lemon juice offered by men of various faiths as top BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu and Gopinath Munde watched.
Chanting the slogan Bharat mata ki jai, Modi said, “Sadbhavana mission has united the nation and also served a call for the people to come together.”
Addressing the huge gathering, the CM said, “My fast may have ended but my mission is not over.”
“Nobody thought that Sadbhavana mission will revolutionise the whole nation. I want to do everything for the nation which I have done for the state of Gujarat,” Modi told the gathering.
The people of the country are fed up, Modi said, adding when they fail to find a way out they follow whatever ray of hope they are able to see.
No regret or apology for 2002 riots
The Chief Minister, who has often come under attack for the 2002 post-Godhra violence that claimed the lives of over a thousand Muslims, said that people of different faiths have come and supported him in the fast.
In his 30-minute speech, he again did not offer any regret or apology over the violence that followed the Sabarmati train carnage.
Attempting an image makeover, Modi claimed his government made no distinction between minority and majority communities and skirted the issue of his being in the BJP`s prime ministerial race.
"People of all faiths are here. It is not just an overnight phenomenon. It is the fruit of 10 years of labour that my government has done. I have given them this reason for this faith," he claimed.
"All my people are mine. All their sorrow is mine. Their joy is mine. Their dreams are mine."
Recalling his initial days Modi said: “I didn’t leave my home to grab the chair; in fact I left with a dream to help the needy. Life is for the country; my heart and soul is for others and this is not possible with rajneeti (politics).”
Hitting out at his critics Modi said that all this shouldn’t be seen through a political lens as Rashtraneeti is above politics.
`India needs to dream big`
Flanked by other leaders of the BJP on the stage, Modi said India and Indians had stopped dreaming.
"This is the root of all our problems. China has big dreams, America has big dreams..."
The Chief Minister underlined that he too could have run a government in a "routine manner".
"Others made roads, we too could have (been satisfied by making) roads. Others built hospitals, we too could have built hospitals...
"We did not think that way. We decided to bring about changes. We decided to awaken our energy... Uniting the people with development programmes was my only mantra."
“For a country, it is mandatory to dream,” Modi added.
`No distinction between minority, majority`
Underlining his development agenda the Chief Minister said that the Central government had set up a commission to study economic conditions of minorities, following which Justice RS Sachar met him and asked, “Modi ji, what do you do for minorities in Gujarat”. Modi said he replied, “My government does not do anything for minorities.” The CM said they were shocked to hear, adding, “My government does not even do anything for majority. My government works for six crore Gujaratis.”
“I don’t approve of playing votebank politics. Their grief, happiness, dreams are mine. It is unfortunate that the ruling government (at the Centre) keeps on mulling ways to come back in power, not find ways to ensure development.”
The development policies are made keeping in mind the votebank politics, the BJP leader said, adding no one is bothered about the overall development in health sector, education sector.
In the process, but without taking anyone`s name, he insisted that no other government anywhere in India had managed to achieve what he had by transforming Gujarat into an economic powerhouse.
He also took a swipe at his own political tribe, saying most politicians were only interested in winning the next election.
"This is how politicians work. They are swayed by vote bank politics. This is how programmes are made.
"This is how 60 years have been spent. Gujarat has come out of this (model). We will not run a government only to win elections. Today we have shown the real path of development."
The 54-year-old leader, who announced his fast plans after the Supreme Court refused to pass any orders against him in the Ehsan Jafri murder case and a US Congressional Report projecting him as a PM candidate against Rahul Gandhi in the 2014 elections, carefully avoided any reference to talk about his being in the race in the party for the top post.
"This three day fast was conducted to bring to the notice of the world how this inclusive developmental politics has helped people of Gujarat to visualise and realise their dreams. I would not have been able to bring it notice of the nation by conducting 40 press conferences," Modi said.
The fast saw a galaxy of BJP leaders praising the chief minister. It was also marked by controversies as riot victims were not allowed to protest on the second day of fast.
"We in Gujarat wanted a government which does not function to win elections. We wanted to increase participation of people which itself will usher in development," Modi said.
Modi offered Muslim prayer cap, declines
Controversy cropped up when Modi refused to put on a `skull cap` offered by a Muslim cleric during his fast.
Sayed Imam Shahi Saiyed, a cleric of a small Dargah in Pirana village on the outskirts of the city, had on Sunday gone up to the stage to greet the Chief Minister, at Gujarat University Convention hall here.
He offered Modi a skull cap, but the CM politely refused to wear it, asking him to offer a shawl instead. The imam did so and Modi was seen accepting it.