The Indian prime minister on Thursday dedicated his landmark electoral victory to the people of India whom he said had reposed their faith in the democratic traditions of the largest democracy in the world by electing him for a second term.
Narendra Modi, who won a landslide triumph to rule India for the next five years, said in his victory speech that voters had secured a win for themselves and their own aspirations for “a new and better India”.
“This is not Modi’s victory but it is the victory of the aspirations of an Indian who was craving for honesty, it is a victory of a self respecting woman who didn’t have access to toilet," Modi said, addressing hundreds of party activists in New Delhi.
"It is a victory of an ailing Indian who didn’t have access to medical care," he continued. "It is a victory of an Indian farmer who produces food not only for his family but for others in the country.”
As officials counted some 600 million votes cast in staggered elections, Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party had won or was leading in over 300 of the 543 seats of the Lok Sabha, or the lower house of the Indian parliament.
The BJP-led grouping had even crossed 350, exceeding the halfway mark of 272 needed to command a majority to form a government.
The prime minister mocked secular parties and said they would “mislead the nation under the garb of secularism” but could no longer do that.
“It was a fake slogan. The parties stopped talking about secularism. Nobody dared to mislead the nation now,” he said.
He said the sentiments Indian voters have expressed through elections “guarantees a bright future for India”.
“It is not a victory of an any party or an individual candidate,” he said. “It were the Indian people who were fighting. And today, the people of India have proven me right. And today if anyone has won, it is India who has won. If anyone has won, it is democracy that has won.”
Modi recalled BJP’s journey from just two seats in the Lok Sabha to returning to power with a landslide mandate.
“The greatness of the BJP is that even if we are only two, we will never get digressed from our ideology. We have returned today, from two (lawmakers in the Lok Sabha) to returning to power and in this journey of ups and downs, we have never given up on our ideologies,” he said.
He said the people's verdict has added to the responsibilities of the government by reposing their faith in Indian democracy.
“The world will have to register this and recognize India’s democratic power,” Modi said.