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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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Tribute to a great unifier: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel can justly be regarded as the maker of modern India
October 31, 2018
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The first half of 1947 was a critical period in India’s history. The end of colonial rule was certain and so was India’s Partition, but what was uncertain was whether there would be more than one division. Prices were rising, food shortages were common but over and above everything else, the unity of India was under severe strain.

It was in these circumstances that the States Department came into being in June 1947. Among the chief aims of this department was to give impetus and top priority to negotiations vis-à-vis India’s relationship with the over 550 princely states, which were as diverse as they could get, be it in size, population, terrain or economic situation. No wonder Mahatma Gandhi remarked, “The problem of the states is so difficult that YOU alone can solve it.”

In vintage Sardar Patel style, he went about his work with precision, firmness and administrative efficiency. Time was less and the task was herculean … but this was no ordinary person, it was Sardar Patel, who was determined not to let his nation down. One by one, he and his team negotiated with the princely states and ensured that they all became a part of free India.

Illustration: Ajit Ninan

It was due to round-the-clock effort of Sardar Patel that the map of India is what it is today!

Once freedom was won, VP Menon, it is said, wanted to retire from government service, only to be told by Sardar Patel that this was neither the time to rest nor the time to retire. Such was Sardar Patel’s firm resolve. VP Menon was made the Secretary of the States Department. In his book ‘The Story of the Integration of Indian States’, he writes about how Sardar Patel led from the front and inspired the entire team to work assiduously. He also writes that Sardar Patel was clear – first and foremost came the interests of the people of India, there would be no compromise on that.

On August 15, 1947, we celebrated the dawn of a new destiny but the work of nation building was far from complete. As independent India’s first home minister, he set the stage for an administrative framework that continues to serve the nation be it in matters of day to day governance or protecting the interests of the people, particularly the poor and marginalised.

Sardar Patel was a veteran administrator. His own experience in governance, particularly in the 1920s when he served the Ahmedabad municipality, was extremely handy when he worked towards strengthening independent India’s administrative framework. While in Ahmedabad, he did commendable work in furthering cleanliness in the city. He ensured clean and functioning drainage systems across the city. He also focussed on other aspects of urban infrastructure such as roads, electricity and education.

Today, if India is known for a vibrant cooperative sector, a large part of the credit goes to Sardar Patel. The roots of Amul can be traced back to his vision for empowering local communities, particularly women. It was Sardar Patel who also popularised the idea of cooperative housing societies, thus ensuring dignity and shelter for many.

Two traits synonymous with Sardar Patel are trust and integrity. The farmers of India had unparalleled faith in him. After all, he was a kisan putra, who led from the front during the Bardoli satyagraha. The working class saw him as a ray of hope, a leader who would speak up for them. Traders and industrialists preferred to work with Sardar Patel because they felt here was a stalwart who had a vision for India’s economic and industrial growth.

His political peers too trusted him. Acharya Kripalani remarked that whenever they faced an issue and if Bapu’s guidance was not available, they would turn to Sardar Patel. When political negotiations were at their peak in 1947, Sarojini Naidu called him “the man of decision and man of action”. Everyone trusted him, his words and his actions. Sardar Patel continues to be respected across caste, creed, faith, age!

This year’s Sardar Jayanti is even more special. With the blessings of 130 crore Indians, the Statue of Unity is being inaugurated today. Situated on the banks of the Narmada, the ‘Statue of Unity’ is the tallest in the world. ‘Dharti Putra’ Sardar Patel will stand tall in the skies, to guide us and inspire us.

I congratulate all those who have worked day and night to ensure that this grand statue in tribute of Sardar Patel becomes a reality. My mind goes back to October 31, 2013, when we laid the foundation stone for this ambitious project. In record time, a project of such scale has become ready and this should make every Indian proud. I urge you all to visit the Statue of Unity in the times to come.

The Statue of Unity is a symbol of both the unity of hearts and the geographical integrity of our motherland. It is a reminder that divided, we may not be even able to face ourselves. United, we can face the world and scale new heights of growth and glory.

Sardar Patel worked with astonishing speed to dismantle the history of imperialism and create the geography of unity with the spirit of nationalism. He saved India from Balkanisation and integrated even the weakest of limbs into the national framework. Today, we, the 130 crore Indians, are working shoulder to shoulder to build a New India that is strong, prosperous and inclusive. Every decision is being taken to ensure that the fruits of development reach the most vulnerable, without any corruption or favouritism, just as Sardar Patel would have wanted it.