Jamnagar, Aug 30 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday struck a sentimental chord with the people of Gujarat, almost apologising for not being able to devote adequate time to the state.
Beginning his speech by chanting Narmade Sarvade, he asked a mass public rally here, “Kem chho? (How are you?)”
“I am the same as you had sent me to Delhi. From the way I said ‘Narmade Sarvade’ you must have understood I am the same,” he told the gathering.
“Yes,” the crowd let out a wild cheer, something that is normal between Modi and the people of Gujarat.
Modi, who earlier inaugurated here the first phase of SAUNI water and irrigation project for the drought-prone Saurashtra region, was addressing a public meeting in Gujarat after a long time.
His outreach to his home state now is significant with the ruling BJP facing a tough time in Gujarat, just about a year ahead of the crucial 2017 state assembly elections.
He said, “Last time, Anandiben (who was chief minister until early this month) had complained I wasn’t coming to Gujarat. This complaint was becoming frequent and had started coming from even party workers and people at large.”
“I respect this complaint arising from Gujarat. But you are aware when I went to Delhi, the work there was new for me. I had to learn a lot, work hard and give enough time,” he explained, like a family member coming home after long.
Modi went on, “Now I have learnt things well. Now I will not give you a chance to complain. But whatever Gujarat taught me, whatever I learned here, is proving very beneficial for me. I am doing the same for 125 crore Indians. I am trying continuously and dedicatedly.”
In his usual exultant style, Modi declared: “Today a son of Gujarat is serving the nation. Gujarat knows it very well that when a son of Gujarat is responsible for the whole nation, he will never let Gujarat down and will continue to strive for the welfare of the nation in the same way as he did for Gujarat as the chief minister.”