Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the mandate given to the Bharatiya Janata Party and the National Democratic Alliance in the Lok Sabha elections was a big responsibility as he received a rapturous welcome from BJP workers in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, NDTV reported.

He took a dig at political pundits who failed to predict the outcome of the elections. “After sixth phase of polling, I had said that it is 300 plus for us,” the prime minister said. “When I said it, people mocked me. But, the results are for everyone to see.”

The prime minister said he was back in the city that had nurtured him, and with which he has an old bond. “I am here for a ‘darshan [an occasion to see something holy]’ of the people of Gujarat,” he added. “The blessings of the state’s citizens have always been very special for me.”

Modi, who will take oath as prime minister on Thursday, said the next five years would be used to solve the problems of common citizens. “We have to further enhance India’s position at the world stage,” he added. “The coming five years have to be years of ‘Jan Bhagidari [public participation]’ and ‘Jan Chetna [public consciousness]’.”

The prime minister said he was saddened by the fire that broke out at a coaching centre in Surat on Friday, killing at least 20 people. “We stand in solidarity with the bereaved families,” he added. “I was in constant contact with the state government. May almighty give them strength in this hour of grief. The state government is further strengthening disaster management infrastructure across Gujarat.” The Gujarat Police have arrested one person and registered a first information report against three people.

BJP President Amit Shah addressed the crowd before the prime minister. “After winning 26 seats [in Gujarat], Narendra bhai has come here, please shout loud so that their voice reaches West Bengal,” ANI quoted him as saying. He also expressed condolences to those who lost their family members in the Surat fire.

After Ahmedabad, Modi travelled to Gandhinagar to meet his mother Heeraben Modi and seek her blessings.