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Narendra Modi gets emotional, promises to serve ‘mother’ India

LiveMint logoLiveMint 20-05-2014 AFP

New Delhi: Prime minister-elect Narendra Modi, making his first visit to Parliament since his election triumph, choked back tears on Tuesday as he urged party colleagues to dedicate themselves to serving the nation as their “mother”.

The 63-year-old leader bowed and kissed the steps of the building as he entered for a meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) parliamentary group and its partners belonging to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which elected him as its leader in Parliament.

Speaking in the central hall of the complex in New Delhi, Modi had to hold back tears in a rare public display of emotion by the hardliner known to his supporters as the “lion of Gujarat”.

Other BJP figures could be seen weeping.

Modi broke down, having to pause and ask for a glass of water, while referring to his former mentor L.K. Advani and promising to serve the BJP and India as his “mother.”

“I said this earlier and I say it again: that 125 crore (1.25 billion) Indians’ hopes and aspirations are embedded in this temple of democracy,” he said, later recalling his humble origins and the country’s independence fighters.

He said “the common man has got renewed self-confidence and faith in democracy” after the victory last Friday by the BJP, which won the first overall majority by a single party since 1984.

“For rural areas, farmers, dalits (low castes), weak and the pained, this government is for them. To meet their aspirations and hopes, this is our responsibility because our weakest, poorest have sent us here,” he said.

Modi spoke for 30 minutes after he was unanimously elected the leader of the BJP parliamentary party by the newly-elected members of the Lok Sabha and those of Rajya Sabha.

His name was proposed by senior leader L.K. Advani and seconded, among others, by Murali Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari.

Modi has been locked in talks since Sunday about the composition of his cabinet which is expected to be sworn in next week.

He urged colleagues to show discipline and commit themselves to hard work.

“This joy, celebration will continue but this marks the beginning of the era of responsibility,” he said.

Later on Tuesday, he was expected to meet President Pranab Mukherjee to inform him of his intention to form an administration and then travel to Gujarat, where he will resign as chief minister after 13 years in power.

The make-up of the new cabinet remains shrouded in secrecy, but reports suggest lawyer and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley is the frontrunner for the finance portfolio, while BJP president Rajnath Singh could get the home ministry.

PTI contributed to this story.

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