Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today began his three-day fast for "peace and communal harmony", saying the success of his endeavour would mean an end to vote-bank politics.
He also said that the fast was not against anybody.
"We want to take this spirit to each and every village ... Each and every house. This fast is not against anybody and I don't want to speak about anybody. Gujarat wants to move forward. We want to be in service of India," Modi said.
"We want to move together and Sadhbhavna (harmony) will be our strength. Development is our only motto. We will be a model for the world on how development can be achieved with peace, harmony and brotherhood," the BJP stalwart said, addressing a gathering at Gujarat University convention centre, the venue of Modi's fast here.
Speaking about the fast, he said, "it is the need of the hour."
"Unity, peace and harmony have a major role to play in our success, our development. Because we have treaded this path and I wanted this message to reach out to people, this fast was the best means to do so," he maintained.
"Six crore Gujarati have gone through a lot of penance to ensure such a situation. If I fast, my words would carry more weight and I will be able to reach out to more people."
This was the only objective behind the fast and there was no grudge against anybody, he said.
"Over the last 10 years we have been vilified. I have faced every attack so that you (people) do not feel the pain. I want to ensure that Gujarat never slips below the parameters of humanity," Modi said.
He sought strength from God so he is able to dedicate his entire life to the people of Gujarat.
"May God give me strength not to have any bitterness or vengeance ever for anyone," Modi said.
The Chief Minister said today the entire country and the world was discussing the development in Gujarat be it in industrial, agricultural, rural, education or in health sectors.
"Gujarat has been successful in its experiments in all sectors and has scaled new heights. After the 2001 earthquake, Gujarat was devastated and many thought it would never rise again, but Gujarat has proved them wrong. Even the World Bank says that if a nation faces disaster like the 2001 earthquake it would take them at least seven years to rebuild, but the state did this in three years which is a big achievement.
In the very next year, 2002, Gujarat saw gruesome communal riots. This incident once again renewed the discussion that Gujarat has gone back on the path of destruction, but we handled this situation strictly and with strength," the BJP leader said. "The stones that were thrown on us have been used by us to build a staircase of development," Modi said.
"Then in 2002 I had said that such incidents are not good for a society, but nobody understood us or our agony. Every citizen of Gujarat was left to his own fate. That is when we decided to show the world that people of Gujarat are of a different genre," Modi said.
Even after the Akshardham terror attacks, Gujarat gave ample evidence of harmony and peace. But people did not notice that resolve of Gujarat.
"Even in 2008 after the (serial) blasts (in Ahmedabad) there were no riots or untoward incident but no one acknowledged this peace and unit in time of adversity."
"Gujarat has set a shining example of peace and unity to the country. But critics kept on throwing stones at us. We were criticised and abused, but we tolerated all that and kept treading on the path of peace, unity and harmony."
"We have gathered all the stones that were thrown at us and have built a ladder of development out of them. Our path is of democracy, Constitution and justice," the CM said.
Modi claimed that in 1980s and 1990s the atmosphere in Gujarat used to be filled with tension and there used to be curfew for months together. Small fights over kite flying or cycling would trigger communal riots, he claimed.
However, in the last 10 years there has been no curfew. This was not because of some preaching or an individual but because of people of Gujarat who have understood the true value of harmony, peace and unity, Modi said.
After independence, in the name of secularism, there has been votebank politics. Communalism and casteism had become a tradition for 60 years, Modi stated.
"In such a background, I would like to say with responsibility that the day is not far when Gujarat's model of peace, unity and harmony would be discussed across the country and the world," Modi said.