Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday claimed that there is a pro-incumbency wave in the country for the first time since Independence. He was addressing Bharatiya Janata Party workers in Varanasi before filing his nomination in Varanasi.

Criticising the Congress, Modi said unlike the Opposition party, the government of the BJP is that of the people. “In this election, we need to break a few records too,” the prime minister said. “I want democracy to win. The people of Varanasi should turn out to vote in numbers bigger than in the rest of Uttar Pradesh.”

Modi spoke of his days as a worker of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the BJP. “I was also a booth worker,” the prime minister said. “I also had the good fortune of having the opportunity to paste posters on walls. I have not let the ‘karyakarta [worker]’ within me die. I am aware of my responsibilities as a parliamentarian and I am also fulfilling my duties as a prime minister.”

The prime minister arrived in Varanasi on Thursday and held a massive roadshow. Afterwards, in a statement, he referred to his government’s response to the terror attacks in Pulwama and Uri as examples of the BJP’s commitment to the nation’s security, ANI reported.

Modi said his mantra for governance is “India first”. The prime minister claimed that no terror attacks have been allowed to occur in any city, sacred place or temple in India. “The Kumbh Mela mega event was held so peacefully,” Modi said. “Terrorism has been restricted to pockets of Jammu and Kashmir.”

“In Pulwama, they made martyrs of 40 of our jawans,” he said in his statement. “After this attack, 42 terrorists in that area have been neutralised. This is our way of working,” ANI quoted him as saying. “Whether it is the Pulwama attack, Uri attack or any other issue, I have only one mantra with which I have lived – the country comes first, India first.”

Modi contested and won from Varanasi in 2014, securing 5.81 lakh votes. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal finished second with 2.09 lakh votes, while Congress’ Ajay Rai was in third place with over 75,000 votes.

On April 9, the prime minister was criticised for asking first-time voters to dedicate their votes to the defence forces during a rally at Latur in Maharashtra. Reports said that the Election Commission is investigating if his Latur speech and another made on April 1 violated the Model Code of Conduct.

The Election Commission in March had issued instructions not to use or mention the defence forces while campaigning.

On April 24, the Election Commission sought a report from election authorities in Gujarat after the Congress claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi violated the Model Code of Conduct by holding a roadshow and making political remarks after casting his vote.