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Dear Friends,

India has voted. 

The biggest festival of democracy has just concluded and in those lakhs of EVMs lays the verdict of the people of India. Counting of votes will take place on 16thof May but today we already have the undisputed winners and they are the people of India! Once again, India has won, the power of the ballot has triumphed and the spirit of democracy has shown itself to be supreme.

Narendra Modi blogs on the conclusion of 2014 Lok Sabha Elections

I would like to express my gratitude to the Election Commission for conducting this mammoth exercise.I thank and salute all those countless election staff, security personnel and police personnel without whom no Election is possible.

It is unfortunate that we witnessed some untoward incidents during the poll process during which some lives were lost. I salute all those who wereunfortunately martyred and offer my deepest condolences to their families. These brave individuals lived and died for democracy. It is our duty to ensure that their sacrifices do not go in vain. 

History will remember the 2014 Elections as historic and marking a paradigm shift from conventional electioneering. Normally, the party in power sets the agenda of the campaign but for the first time it was not the case. Far from setting the agenda, the ruling party was neither proactive nor responsive. It was only reactive throughout the campaign

What makes me very happy is the fact that the NDA remained firm on our agenda of development and good governance. We did not stop there; we successfully forced these two issues to become the focal point of the campaign. Yes, there were attempts to digress from these issues but we remained firm. The result was- those who wanted to praise us said we were doing well and those who wanted to critique us kept saying ‘we are doing better than BJP ruled states.’ An election must be fought on positive issues and I am glad we were able to alter the discourse in a way that helped people make their choices on the basis of a positive agenda.

2014 Lok Sabha elections will stand out for the increased turnout. Whenever polling would end for a particular phase, I would eagerly wait for the polling numbers and invariably my joy would increase seeing the jump in turnout.  Be it the cities or villages, old or young, men or women, everyone voted in large numbers. In most of the places it was sweltering, in some places there was rain and in some of the places in the hills it was cool apart from the hilly terrain but none of this deterred people from going out and voting.

Here I want to make a special mention for the increasing turnout among youngsters. Back in the day, voting was not believed to be ‘cool enough’ for a lot of youngsters. Today that is history. Voting is cool and rightly so! One needs to log in to Facebook or Twitter on polling day to see the number of Selfies my young friends are sharing. This is a very positive sign and I hope it continues in the times to come.

Throughout the campaign, I was able to connect with local people and local issues and this was something that I enjoyed very much. Connecting with local sentiments in this manner would not have been possible without social media. This is the first election where social media has assumed an important role and the importance of this medium will only increase in the years to come. Our Party, our campaign and me personally have gained tremendously from social media. It became a direct means of information and gave us the much-needed local pulse on several issues without any bias. It is said that the success of an Organisation depends on the accuracy and promptness with which there is an upward flow of information from the grass root level workers and well-wishers to the top that is complimented by clear and timely guidance from the top rung to those working on the ground. With the advent of social media this principle of Organisational working stands further strengthened.

There is one more thing for which we have to profusely thank social media- it has caused the downfall of manufactured lies and half-truths at a very nascent stage. Earlier during Elections we had people whose lies would reach every section of society. In a time when means of communication were less, they could get away with their same old speeches and half-baked assurances. Social media has changed that! In this age of information and social media the lies that come out of their microphones cannot even get past the podium of their speech venues, forget reaching others. More power to social media in the days ahead.

I congratulate friends in the media for covering every aspect of the Elections. The media was active in every part of the nation, keeping us abreast with latest happenings.  I do however feel that there is immense room for improving the debate and discourse surrounding the elections. At the same time, the continuous election humour that is a part of every election kept the smiles on our faces.

Along with the Lok Sabha Elections there were Assembly Elections in Odisha, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Two newly created states out of Andhra Pradesh will begin their development journey. Due to the Lok Sabha campaign, the local issues of all these states could not be discussed the manner in which they ideally should have been. I did make it a point to talk about my experiences in these poll bound states wherever I went across the nation.

Yes, this has been a hard-fought election. It had its joyous moments and there were heated moments as well. Now is the time to put the heat and dust of campaign behind and look ahead. Irrespective of who wins on the 16th, the dreams of a billion Indians should not suffer. Yes, as political parties and candidates we have differing ideologies but our goal is one- to work for India and to fulfill the aspirations of our youth.

This is the right time to look ahead. It is a time to connect with each other. Lets place people over politics, hope over despair, healing over hurting, inclusion over exclusion and development over divisiveness. It is natural for the spirit of bi-partisanship to get temporarily lost in the midst of an election campaign but now is the time to resurrect it.

Personally, this campaign has been a remarkable journey. In my Blog a few days ago I talked about how this journey was extensive, innovative and satisfying. I had never imagined that someone like me would find himself here today. This is the power of Democracy and this is the power of Bharat Mata. I want to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of this journey. Your support and criticism made this journey a lot livelier. I want to specially thank the security forces who have travelled with me or travelled before me to the various rallies for security arrangements. If Narendra Modi could address so many rallies and meet so many people, a lot of credit goes to them.

Let me end with a few words to all my fellow candidates and workers from BJP and the NDA who fought shoulder to shoulder with us- thanks for your efforts and partnership.  I wish each and every one the very best for 16thofMay.

Let us begin the journey towards ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ and create an India our founding fathers would be proud of.

Yours,

Narendra Modi

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India’s 100 crore-and-counting Covid vaccine doses show what people’s participation can achieve
October 22, 2021
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India completed vaccination of 100 crore doses on October 21 in about nine months since starting vaccination. The journey from anxiety in early 2020 to assurance has happened, and India has emerged stronger, thanks to the world's largest vaccination drive.

It has been a truly Herculean, bhagirath effort involving multiple sections of society. For any effort to attain and sustain speed and scale, trust of all stakeholders is crucial. One reason for a successful campaign was the trust that people developed in the vaccine and the process followed, despite various efforts to create mistrust and panic. There are some who only trust foreign brands. However, when it came to something as crucial as the Covid-19 vaccine, Indians unanimously trusted

'Made in India' vaccines. This is a significant paradigm shift.

All for One, and One for All

India's vaccine drive is an example of what India can achieve if the citizens and the government come together with a common goal in the spirit of people's participation, or jan bhagidari. Initially, many doubted the capabilities of 130 crore Indians. Some said India would take 3-4 years, while others doubted people coming forward to get vaccinated. There were those who said there will be gross mismanagement and chaos, while others doubted India's ability to manage supply chains.But just like the 2020 national lockdown - janta curfew - and subsequent lockdowns, the people showed how spectacular the results can be if made trusted partners.

When everyone takes ownership, nothing is impossible. There was a lot of pressure from different interest groups to give preferential treatment to them in vaccination. But GoI ensured that there is no VIP culture in the vaccination drive.

In early 2020, it was clear to us that this pandemic will have to be eventually fought with the help of vaccines. We started preparing early. We constituted expert groups and started preparing a roadmap right from April 2020. Till today, only a handful of countries have developed their own vaccines. More than 180 countries are dependent on an extremely limited pool of producers, and dozens of nations are still waiting for the supply of vaccines.

Imagine if India did not have its own vaccine. How would India have secured enough vaccines for such a large population? How many years would that have taken? It is here that credit should be given to Indian scientists and entrepreneurs for rising to the occasion. It is due to their talent and hard work that India is truly aatmanirbhar when it comes to vaccines. Our vaccine manufacturers, by scaling up to meet the demands of such a large population, have shown that they are second to none.

GoI has been an accelerator and enabler of progress. It partnered with vaccine-makers right from day one, and gave them support in the form of institutional assistance, scientific research, funding, as well as accelerated regulatory processes. All ministries came together to facilitate and remove any bottlenecks as a result of the 'whole of government' approach.

In a country of the scale of India, it is not enough to just produce. Focus has to be on last-mile delivery and seamless logistics. To understand the challenges involved, imagine the journey taken by one vial of vaccines. From a plant in Pune or Hyderabad, the vial is sent to a hub in any of the states, from where it is transported to the district hub. From there, it reaches a vaccination centre. This entails the deployment of thousands of trips taken by flights and trains. During this entire journey, the temperature has to be maintained in a particular range that is centrally monitored.

We are the Nation

For this, over 1 lakh cold-chain equipments were utilised. States were given advance notice of the delivery schedule of the vaccines so that they could plan their drives better and vaccines reached them on the pre-decided days. This has been an unprecedented effort in the history of independent India.

All these efforts were complemented by a robust tech platform in CoWIN. It ensured that the vaccine drive was equitable, scalable, trackable and transparent. This ensured that there was no scope for favouritism or jumping the queue. It also ensured that a poor worker could take first dose in his village and the second dose of the same vaccine in the city where he works, after the required time interval. In addition to a real-time dashboard to boost transparency, the QR (quick response)-coded certificates ensured verifiability. There are hardly any examples of such efforts not only in India but also the world.

In my 2015 Independence Day address, I had said that our country is moving ahead because of 'Team India', and this 'Team India' is a big team of our 130 crore people. People's participation is the biggest strength of democracy. If we run the country through the participation of 130 crore Indians, our country will be moving ahead 130 crore steps every moment. Our vaccination drive has yet again showed the power of this 'Team India'. India's success in its vaccination drive has also demonstrated to the whole world that 'democracy can deliver'.

The success achieved in the world's largest vaccination drive should further spur our youth, our innovators and all levels of government to set new benchmarks of public service delivery that will be a model not only for our country, but also for the world.