Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday dedicated the landslide victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies in the parliamentary elections to the people of India.

“This is not Modi’s victory,” he said after the results indicated that the National Democratic Alliance would return a second term with an even bigger mandate. “This is victory of honest people’s hope, this is a victory of youths who have walked on the path of 21st century with dreams.”

He invoked the Mahabharata and likened the citizens of the country to Lord Krishna. “Lord Krishna was asked whose side was he on after Mahabharat ended,” said Modi. “The answer given by him back then, has been repeated by the people of the country today. I have been saying from Day one that people of the country are contesting the elections. It is the nation and democracy which have emerged victorious.”

Modi said the verdict reflected the satisfaction of the middle class with the NDA’s governance. “This is not the victory of Modi but the victory of citizens desperate for honesty in governance,” he added.

He criticised parties that, according to him, tried to fight the elections by playing the caste card. “People who have played in the name of caste for years have been given a strong response,” he said. “Today, India has only two castes – those who are poor and those who want to eradicate poverty.”

The BJP leader said this was the first election where price rise was not an issue. “Opposition leaders could not raise a single issue of corruption,” he claimed. “Not a single party dared to raise the issue of secularism in these elections.”

He congratulated every candidate who won on Thursday. “All will be working for the progress of the country,” Modi added. “Centre will work shoulder to shoulder with all parties which won in the state elections today.” The prime minister said the BJP was committed to the Constitution and federalism. He also praised the Election Commission for conducting smooth elections.

Modi said the victory would be an inspiration for generations to come. “Today’s victory will stun the world,” he added. “This is a time when India will have eyes of the world on it; it will mark 150 years of Gandhi and 75 years of Independence.”

Modi said the BJP’s uniqueness was that it never compromised its principles, whether it was in 1984, when they won two seats, or today. “Na ruke, na thake, na jhuka [Never stopped, got tired or bowed] when it came to staying with our ideologies – that is the uniqueness of the BJP,” he added.

Modi’s popularity has ensured BJP’s historic win, says Amit Shah

BJP chief Amit Shah, who addressed supporters at the party headquarters in New Delhi before the prime minister, said the victory was an answer to the ideology of the “tukde-tukde gang”, a reference to student activists and intellectuals who according to saffron party want to break up the nation.

Shah credited Narendra Modi for the electoral victory. “His [Modi’s] popularity has ensured BJP’s historic win,” the BJP president added. “BJP is the first party in 50 years that has won absolute majority.”

Shah said the defeat of the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance in Uttar Pradesh indicated that dynasty and caste politics have no place in the country. The BJP will get a strong footing in West Bengal in near future, he added. “Even after so much violence, BJP won 18 seats in West Bengal,” Shah said. “It tells that in coming days, BJP will establish its might in West Bengal.”

He took a dig at Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu, and said it would have been better had he focussed on the state instead of meeting Opposition leaders. Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party lost the Assembly elections to Jagan Mohan Reddy YSR Congress Party.