New Delhi: After assuming office as the Prime Minister for a second consecutive term, Narendra Modi on Saturday addressed his first public meeting in Guruvayur, Kerala. Inaugurating the ‘Abhinandan Sabha’– a party meeting being organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kerala State committee, PM Modi said, ‘Kerala didn’t vote for the BJP but it is as much mine as is Varanasi’.

“Some Pundits think that BJP could not open its account in Kerala but Modi is going there to thank people. What is in his mind? We believe that elections have a place of their own but after elections the more important responsibility is towards the 130 crore citizens. Those who made us win our ours, those who did not make us win are also ours. Kerala is as much mine as is Varanasi,” PM said.

In a veiled attack on Opposition parties, PM said that people of India have rejected negativity and chosen positivity, and voted for building a new India. “People choose their ‘jan pratinidhi’ for 5 years but we are ‘jan sevak’ who is committed to serving the people, life long,” Modi stated.

He also vowed to provide all kinds of support to Kerala in dealing with Nipah virus crisis in the state. PM assured that the Centre would extend all cooperation to the state government and people of Kerala. “I assure you that Govt of India is standing with you, with Kerala govt and is working towards providing you all facilities for protection against Nipah virus,” Modi stated.

He also asked Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government to allow the residents of the state to avail the benefits of Ayushman Bharat scheme. “Kerala govt has refused to connect with Ayushman Bharat Yojana. Today I publicly request them to allow the residents of Kerala the benefits of this scheme,” the Prime Minister said.

Earlier in the day, he offered prayers at Sri Krishna Temple in Guruvayur in Thrissur. PM Modi is on a visit to Kerala for the first time after getting massive mandate in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections 2019. He also performed a ‘thulabharam’ (a ritual with weighing scales) using lotus flowers.

Modi will fly back to Kochi Saturday afternoon and will take off for the Maldives for the first bilateral trip of his second term. “I would be visiting the Maldives and Sri Lanka on 8th and 9th June. These visits indicate the importance we attach to the policy of ‘Neighbourhood First’ and will further cement ties with key maritime neighbours,” Modi had tweeted yesterday.

Last year in November, PM Modi had visited Maldives to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.