Mumbai: After the resounding hat-trick in the Gujarat elections, chief minister Narendra Modi is now "knocking on the doors of Delhi", Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said today in an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamna. He said that Mr Modi had more or less repeated his past performance.
"Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi and other top Congress leaders called Mr Modi all kinds of names. Even the CBI was used to contain Mr Modi. All NGOs painted Mr Modi as a villain at the international level, but it was all in vain," Mr Thackeray said.
According to Mr Thackeray the Gujarat Parivartan Party, headed by former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, also tried to contain Mr Modi but failed. By the end of Thursday, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee chief Arjun Modwadia also had to quit and the Leader of Opposition in the outgoing house SS Gohil had to bite the dust of defeat, he pointed out.
After Mr Modi's resounding third straight win over Gujarat, the Congress could not even celebrate its own victory in Himachal Pradesh, which it wrested from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said Mr Thackeray.
"Actually, the Congress campaigned against Mr Modi as a prospective prime ministerial candidate, rather than targetting the BJP. Now, Mr Modi is knocking on the doors of Delhi."
Giving full credit to the Gujarat strongman, Mr Thackeray said that "Mr Modi has won the hearts of the people first, and then the elections."
"He has dedicated his victory to the people of Gujarat and vowed to work for them for the next five years. As long as he understands the plight of the common man and continues in the same vein, Mr Modi will continue to blacken the faces of the people with black money," Mr Thackeray said.
The Sena leader said that the manner in which Mr Modi displayed humility by touching rival Keshubhai Patel's feet "raised his stature even more; and in the long run, it could benefit the BJP."
Mr Thackeray did not raise the sensitive issue of the next prime ministerial candidate, especially since the late Bal Thackeray had already expressed his admiration and support for senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, and claimed that she was "prime minister material".