Edited by Shamik Ghosh | Updated: December 20, 2012 17:27 IST
Gandhinagar: Narendra Modi may have won Gujarat today, but his victory speech this evening made it clear that he intends Delhi as his next stop. Unusually, he delivered his lengthy speech entirely in Hindi. (Watch full speech)
Fortified by his results - he has won 115 of the state's 182 seats, two less than the last election in 2007 - Mr Modi urged an audience of 15,000, "If I have made any mistakes, forgive me," adding "give me your blessings so I make no mistakes in the future." (Gujarat elections: Full coverage)
The biggest impediment for Mr Modi's political progression is the taint of the communal riots in his state ten years ago. Nearly 1,000 Muslims were killed in Gujarat during his first term as chief minister; his critics allege that he did little to check the mobs attacking Muslim neighbourhoods.
Through the day today, like in his campaign, the BJP and Mr Modi emphasised that Gujarat is not shackled to that lacerated past. In the morning, Mr Modi tweeted, "No need of looking behind, FORWARD! We want infinite energy, infinite courage, infinite patience.."
(Read Modi's blog)
His party took the same line. "Gujarat had a very unfortunate situation in the social tensions, in the riots in 2002. Now the agenda of politics of Gujarat has grown, Narendra Modi has grown. He has tried his best to get out of that agenda and take Gujarat to a very positive agenda. And this election if you see is a result of that positive agenda," said Arun Jaitley, senior BJP leader. (Watch)
His party said today - as it has so often in recent months - that a decision on his possible move to Delhi will be made in careful consultation with the BJP's allies, who partner in its national coalition.
His supporters in Gujarat seem to have no doubt what comes next for their leader. They held up posters with legends like "This is the trailer, watch film in 2014". And when Mr Modi, smile on face, said he would visit Delhi for a day on the 27th of this month, his audience shouted, "PM, PM."
In the morning, Finance Minister P Chidambaram confounded many when he said, while votes were still being counted, that "The Congress is also a winner in Gujarat" because it had kept Mr Modi from a landslide victory. (Results: Big winners and losers)
"Arre yaar," Mr Modi said in his speech hours later, "even if you add up the seats they won in Himachal Pradesh with their seats in Gujarat, they will still not match our numbers here." (Highlights of his speech)
The Chief Minister won his own election in the Maninagar constituency of Ahmedabad by a whopping 86,373 votes, defeating political debutante Shweta Bhatt, the wife of Sanjiv Bhatt, a suspended policeman who has accused Mr Modi of complicity in the 2002 riots. Mrs Bhatt was fielded against the chief minister by the Congress. (See constituency-wise results)
BJP rebel and former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel has won his election from Visavadar, but his Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), expected to play spoilsport for Mr Modi in Saurashtra, failed to make a dent. Mr Modi visited Mr Patel today, sought his blessings and fed him sweets. (Read)