- POSTED: 16 May 2014 21:25
- UPDATED: 16 May 2014 23:02
Narendra Modi promised to work to "fulfil the dreams of 1.2 billion people" as he addressed cheering supporters for the first time Friday after a landslide Indian election victory for his Hindu nationalist party.
VADODARA: Narendra Modi promised to work to "fulfil the dreams of 1.2 billion people" as he addressed cheering supporters for the first time Friday after a landslide Indian election victory for his Hindu nationalist party.
A sea of well-wishers from across his constituency of Vadodara in Gujarat turned out to hear the 63-year-old former tea boy who is poised to become prime minister of the world's second-most populous nation.
"The heat of the election is over and the people have given their verdict which says that we need to take India forward to fulfil the dreams of India's 1.2 billion people," he said.
"There are no enemies in democracy, there is only opposition. I will take your love and convert it into progress before I return."
The crowds of thousands festooned in his Bharatiya Janata Party's saffron colour erupted in cheers amid screams of "Modi! Modi!" as he took to the stage, flashing a victory sign and smiling broadly.
"I want to take all of you with me to take this country forward... it is my responsibility to take all of you with me to run this country," he added.
"Everyone's support and everyone's development is our mantra, and these are not hollow words, this is our spirit. That is why the people have given us a clear majority."
Modi's opponents and critics have warned that the 63-year-old, who has a reputation as a religious hardliner, will stoke tensions in the Hindu-majority country, which is home to 150 million Muslims.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned in January that he would be "disastrous" for the country.
Party flags hung all around and supporters perched themselves on top of buildings, trees and traffic lights and police kept a close watch on the crowds.
Sounding triumphant yet eager to appear inclusive -- "there are no enemies in democracy" -- Modi thanked the citizens of Vadodara for their "love".
Firecrackers burst and supporters whistled, chanted and broke into thunderous, roaring applause at his gratitude.
"Good days are coming... After filing my nomination from Vadodara I was able to spend only 50 minutes here, but you gave me five lakh 70,000 votes (570,000)," he said, referring to his winning margin.
"I bow in front of the people of Vadodara for the love and each of the voters worked as Narendra Modi," he said.
Preliminary results at the end of the marathon six-week election showed the BJP on track for the first parliamentary majority by a single party since 1984.
Election Commission figures showed the party is likely to win more than the 272 seats required for a majority on its own in the 543-seat parliament, with victories by its allies taking it easily in excess of 330.