Shortly before emerging from the presidential palace with a letter appointing him India’s next prime minister, Narendra Modi fought back tears in his first speech in Parliament.
As he stepped into the Parliament House for the first time, Mr. Modi, 63, bowed down and touched the ground with his forehead.
In the iconic Central hall, BJP’s newly elected parliamentarians gave him a rousing welcome, and veteran LK Advani, who had publicly opposed the party’s move to name him prime ministerial candidate before the assembly elections last year, embraced him.
“Had Atal Bihari Vajpayee been in better health, his presence would have completed this moment,” Mr. Modi said, his voice catching.
“It is proof of the strength of our Constitution that a man from a poor family is standing.”
Mr. Modi will be sworn in on Monday after his BJP-led coalition won a massive mandate in the national election.
Mr. Advani, who broke down while greeting him, said, “I have a weakness..,. I am prone to tears. I thank the party and Narendra Modi for doing the kripa (favour) of letting me witness an unforgettable moment in our history.”
Mr. Modi said, “Advani ji said I did him kripa. Please don’t use this word.”
Choked up, he paused for a drink of water and took a moment before continuing. “Can a son ever do his mother kripa? The BJP is my mother; it has done me the favour of giving me an opportunity to serve it.”
Many BJP MPs looked equally moved.
“You see Modi not because Modi’s stature is large. You See Modi because party elders hoisted me on their shoulders,” said the PM-to-be, who led the party to a historic victory; the BJP became the first party in 30 years to win a majority on its own and won 336 with its allies.
He promised MPs, “An era of responsibility has begun. When we meet in 2019, I will give you and my countrymen a report card… I will live for India.”
Today, he avoided criticism of the outgoing Congress party, saying all of India’s governments had worked for the good of the country.