Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the next five years will be the time to regain the rightful position of India in the world order and engaging people in solving their own problems. He addressed his first rally after the Lok Sabha victory in his home state of Gujarat where he also met his mother and sought her blessings before taking oath on May 30.
Speaking at the rally in Ahmedabad, Mr Modi said, “The next five years will be very important in the history of the country, as was the period between 1942 to 1947.”
“This period will be the time to regain the rightful position of India in world order. In the past our country had that place. I am sure India will regain its importance in the world order,” he said.
He also vowed to utilise his second stint in office to solve issues of the common citizens. “The coming years will be about ‘Jan Bhagidari’ (public participation in governance) and ‘Jan Chetna’ (raising awareness),” he said.
Mr Modi also expressed his grief over the fire tragedy in Surat, in which 22 school students died. Due to the mourning, Mr Modi’s rally was kept simple and shorn of pomp.
“Till yesterday, I was in two minds whether to go for this felicitation function or not as on one hand, there was ‘kartvya’ (duty) and on the other hand, there was ‘karuna’ (compassion) for those who died in Surat.,” he said.
“On the other hand, I had to thank the people of the state and also take blessings of my mother as my duty,” the Prime Minister added.
In a recent interview, Mr Modi had said that he had left home at a very young age. “But that doesn’t mean I am not attached to my mother… My life has become such that the country is my family and that is how I operate,” he had said.
Mr Modi arrived in Ahmedabad on Sunday to a rousing welcome. He garlanded the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel near the airport and drove to the city in a car with BJP president Amit Shah and Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. Thousands of people lined the roads to greet him.
Earlier in the day, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday dialled Mr Modi to congratulate him on his electoral victory, making it the two leaders’ first telephonic conversation after the Balakot airstrikes in Feburary that had brought the neighbours to the brink of war.
During the interaction, Mr Khan expressed his desire to work together for the betterment of their peoples, while Mr Modi reminded his Pakistani counterpart that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism is essential for fostering peace and prosperity in the region.
The ministry of external affairs (MEA) said, “The Prime Minister thanked the Prime Minister of Pakistan for his telephone call and greetings.”
Recalling his initiatives in line with his government’s “Neighbourhood first” policy, Mr Modi referred to his earlier suggestion to Mr Khan to fight poverty jointly, the MEA said.
Mr Khan’s telephone call to Mr Modi came days after the cricketer-turned-politician congratulated the latter on Twitter on his massive electoral victory in the general elections. Soon after, Mr Modi had responded in a Twitter message thanking him for his “good wishes” and saying he wanted peace in the region.
Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson Mohammed Faisal said, “The PM Khan spoke to PM Modi today and congratulated him on his party’s electoral victory in Lok Sabha elections in India. The PM expressed his desire for both countries to work together for betterment of their peoples.”