With the country headed into the third phase of elections on Tuesday April 23, 117 seats across 15 states and Union territories are in the poll fray. While the ruling BJP won all the 26 seats in Gujarat in the 2014 general elections, the assembly elections in Gujarat in 2017 witnessed a stronger showing by the Congress party. Gujarat being the home turf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, the contest in the state is more than that of winning seats. BJP president Amit Shah is in the poll fray from the Gandhinagar seat of Gujarat.
On Tuesday morning, shortly after voting commenced at 7 a.m, PM Narendra Modi arrived in the polling booth at Ranip in Gujarat to cast his vote. Amidst the huge gathering of people sloganeering 'Modi Modi', the PM showed his inked finger after casting his vote. He expressed his pride in the largest festival of democracy, welcomed the first time voters and media persons and congratulated the country for participating in this festival of democracy.
"Today in our country, third phase of elections are being held. I am lucky and blessed that I am getting a chance to fulfill my duty in my home state of Gujarat. I am getting a chance to be an active participant in this largest festival of democracy. It is similar to the purity I feel when I take a dip in the Kumbh. This is how I am feeling after casting my vote. I am urging every citizen of the country that they become a part of this festival of democracy, wherever the elections are left. Vote with all vigour and happiness and consider it as a festival. Whosoever you vote for, go and vote. Because the voters of India are the most intellectual, they know the difference between nir (water) and khid (boiled rice), difference between water and milk. That's the speciality of Indian voters and this speciality is the topic of study for the entire world."
To the first time voters he said:
"Those who were born in 21st century and are voting for the first time in the Lok Sabha, I welcome all those sons and daughters for their active participation in the democracy. For them it is their century, they have to vote for the bright future and a bright century, and that is why I am especially urging them to go and vote 100 percent. It is the strength of India's democracy, we give the example to the people of what democracy is.
Further, he hailed the power of democracy, emphasising that it was stronger than terrorism:
"The weapon of terrorism is IED and strength and weapon of democracy is voter ID. I believe that voter Id is much stronger than IED. I hope we all will understand the power of this voter ID and as there was huge margin of voting in the first and second phase, it will be same in this phase I hope. And I welcome all those people who voted."
Expressing his gratitude to the media persons, he said:
"I also give my best wishes to media persons who are continuously working hard since the elections, they are running all around under the scorching sun. I would like to say that they should take rest because till May 23 you won't get time, have a great vacation with your family after that. In this summer, you have done a great job in spreading awareness, I give you all the credits and congratulate you for it. And I thank you."