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Dear Friends,

Today marks the culmination of a long campaign for 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. I addressed my final rally in Ballia, the land of the hero of 1857 Mangal Pandey, in Eastern UP.

Since September 13th 2013 when the responsibility of being the BJP’s PM candidate was given to me, I have been travelling across the length and breadth of India. Friends in the Party told me that I have addressed rallies and programmes in almost 5800 locations, covering a distance of over 3 lakh kilometers. The number of rallies I addressed in this campaign season is 440, including the Bharat Vijay Rallies that I began with the blessings of Maa Vaishno Devi on 26th March 2014.

Extensive, Innovating and Satisfying: The Story of 2014 Campaign

The campaign was a wonderful opportunity to once again witness India’s celebrated diversity, the vibrancy of the people and the beauty of our culture. Working for the Organisation I have travelled across India in the past but this time it was very different. 

The unprecedented blessings I have received from the people have been very humbling. Conventional wisdom would suggest such a campaign would be tiring but I am experiencing a deep satisfaction and freshness that one would feel after a long and elaborate Sadhna. Through the campaign I got to worship the Janata Janardan.  

When I look back at the entire campaign, three words come to my mind - Extensive, Innovative and Satisfying. 

Throughout our campaign, we took agenda of development and good governance to every corner of India. People are tired of false promises, corruption and the same old tape-recorded messages ridden with dynastic references only to hide one’s own failure. They want a better tomorrow and NDA is the only alliance that can provide this change.

Nothing made me more glad than seeing the enthusiasm of our Karyakartas! They have worked tirelessly throughout the campaign. Seeing a rally on TV and social media is one experience but working on the ground is something out of the world! We do not view campaigns through the limited prism of electoral victory or defeat. A campaign becomes a life changing experience for the Karyakartas. It is a golden opportunity to strengthen and expand the Organisation and increases the bond between the people and the Karyakartas. Our Karyakartas went door-to-door and spread the Party’s message and we are very proud of them. Our campaign is the story of the hardwork of each and every BJP worker, who has selflessly set out to create a better India for future generations. 

In the entire campaign we received the continuous support and guidance of the leaders of the Party. We derive immense strength and inspiration from the solid experience and wisdom of our leaders and their active participation in the campaign gave us an impetus and boosted the confidence of Karyakartas. 

This campaign will be remembered for path breaking innovation. In a polity where political campaigns were more about one-way communication, our Chai Pe Charcha was an innovative break from the past.  Charchas were held in over 4,000 locations across India. During these Charchas, I sat for hours and heard the views of the people and then answered their questions on a wide range of issues. One of the Charchas was held in Wardha (Maharashtra) where I met families of farmers who had committed suicide. I was really saddened. After so many years of freedom, our farmers are still ending their lives even as the present Government watches on silently. For how long can we let this go on?

Innovation was seen in the Bharat Vijay 3D rallies. In one month I addressed 12 rounds of 3D rallies covering 1350 locations. The response to the 3D rallies was phenomenal. So many youngsters wrote to me on mail and social media ‘thanking’ me for coming to their village. People told our Karyakartas- we want to meet Modi ji on stage…such was the buzz these rallies generated.

For the first time in the history of Indian electioneering an exclusive volunteer portal was set up in the form of India272+ (https://www.india272.com). All one had to do was log in and begin work either online or by participating in the onground activities. Through India272+ we sought inputs from our volunteers. I was truly enriched by their ideas and contribution. Such forums have the potential to revolutionize campaigning and create a paradigm shift in interfacing and mobilizing well-wishers.

It was amazing how all forms of social media were innovatively used throughout the campaign. This includes the ever popular WhatsApp- a lot of friends showed me innovative WhatsApp messages, campaign slogans and infograhpics that were hugely popular. After casting my vote I shared my own Selfie and called for your Selfies. This generated tremendous buzz on social media. I also had a free and frank interaction with several friends from the print and electronic media. I was interviewed by the Hindi, Regional and English media.

I cannot forget the affection I have received in the last eight months. The events of Patna will remain etched in my memory- there were live bombs on one side but the resolve of the people prevailed. Nobody left the venue of the rally. I had a clear message that day that I repeated often during the campaign- we can decide whether we want to fight each other or we want to unite to fight poverty? The former will lead us nowhere while the latter will take our Nation to greater heights.

Most importantly I wish to thank the people of India who joined our rallies, 3D events and Charchas in large numbers. People cutting across all age groups and transcending barriers of caste, creed or religion joined us. I often said that Narendra Modi or any one else is not fighting these elections. The people of India have taken these elections on their shoulders. Each and every citizen of India has become a driving force of change.

In most places where I addressed rallies, it was very hot yet people came in record numbers. A few days ago when I was in Visakhapatnam, it suddenly started raining during the rally. Yet the people remained. No words will be able to convey my gratitude to the people. I assure the people of India that I will repay this overwhelming affection with unprecedented development that will lay the foundations of a strong India.

The campaign has ended today but one phase of the Elections remains. I urge all those voting in the final phase to vote in record numbers, especially the youth. Please go to vote, take your family and friends to vote. Every vote matters! 

As I travelled across India I could not help but think- there is something in this soil that makes India special. History is full of examples of how our land has shown the way to the world and today once again, our destined role of a Jagad Guru calls us. Let us rise to the occasion and create a strong, developed & inclusive India that will show the way to the world. 

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.