Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said his party, the BJP, had always faced the twin challenges of political untouchability and political violence. But today, if there is one party is truly democratic, it is the BJP, he said. "We care about democracy even when we are in power," he said in his address at Varanasi, where he went today to thank the people after the party's mammoth victory in the national elections.
But that victory came at a cost, the Prime Minister indicated.
"In some states, hundreds of our workers have been killed because of their political views. Political untouchability is gaining ground by the day. In some places, just the name of BJP is enough to create an atmosphere of untouchability," PM Modi said.
"Why are our workers killed or attacked in Kashmir, Kerala or Bengal? It is shameful and anti-democratic... But today, in the political canvas of the nation, if there is one party that lives and breathes democracy, it is the BJP," PM Modi added.
The BJP has made huge inroads in Bengal, adding 16 seats to the two it won in 2012 - the state witnessed violence at every phase of the election. Its tally in Jammu and Kashmir, however, has gone down by one seat.
Varanasi, the constituency of the Prime Minister, has re-elected him by a huge margin of 4.79 lakh votes. He not only retained his seat, but also saw his victory margin go up by nearly 1 lakh votes, compared to 2014.
It was part of the party's huge victory in the national elections, where it easily outstripped the score of 2014. From 282 seats in the Lok Sabha, the party went up to 303 seats - the NDA crossed the 350 mark.
"Political analysts will have to accept that beyond poll arithmetic, there is chemistry," PM Modi told the hundreds of people who had come to greet him.