Prime Minister Narendra Modi today coined a new slogan "Nara" -- short for "national ambition" and "regional aspiration" -- to describe the political strategy that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) plans to adopt in the wake of its massive victory in the Lok Sabha elections. Nara is also the Hindi word for slogan.
"The NDA has energy, the NDA has synergy. The NDA has national ambition, the NDA has regional aspiration. Put the two together, and we become 'Nara'. We will move forward with this," PM Modi said in an address delivered after he was formally elected as the leader of the NDA in the central hall of parliament today. He is expected to be re-sworn as the country's 15th Prime Minister next week.
PM Modi said that the victory of the BJP-led alliance went to show that India has recognised it as a force of progress, and it faces no credible opponent in the political arena today. "I was once asked if I see anybody as Modi's challenger. I told him then that only Modi is Modi's challenger," he told a bemused audience of top NDA leaders.
The NDA notched 352 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, roaring past the halfway mark of 272 to form the next government. While the BJP emerged as the single-largest party with 303 seats, a hike of 21 over its 2014 tally, the Congress-led combine at the other end could manage just 91.
The Prime Minister said that the NDA ended up breaking records set in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections only because of the people's trust in his governance. "The people have voted for pro-incumbency in such a manner for the first time. They have accepted us because of our work and what we have delivered. The number of votes that Donald Trump won (in the 2016 US presidential elections) was just the increment we received over the previous Lok Sabha election," he said, laughing.
PM Modi claimed that the NDA's victory showed how India was "maturing" as a democracy with each passing day. "Not just in India but Indians around the world... it is amazing how they have involved themselves in the process. We are very proud, and I thank them," he said.
The Prime Minister repeatedly alluded to his commitment to the poor and the minority communities during the address, which extended for over an hour. "The country has this 'garibi' tag that urgently needs to be removed. Even minorities are kept away all the time and used only during the elections. But we believe in 'sabka saath, sabka vikas'. Those who vote for us are ours, and those who oppose us are ours too," he said.