Golden age of BJP yet to come: Shah

Yogi Aditynath with Venkaiah Naidu in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

The BJP may be basking in the warm afterglow of its victories in the five States that went to the polls earlier in the year, but party president Amit Shah exhorted national executive members to not be “complacent” and work instead for a golden age for the party “with the BJP occupying all levels of government from panchayats to the Parliament.”

Mr. Shah’s appeal came during his inaugural address to the party’s national executive meeting in Bhubhaneswar, the capital of Odisha, a State that seems to be next on the party’s acquisition list. Briefing the media on Mr. Shah’s speech, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Mr. Shah told national executive members to devote 15 days a month to getting in touch with booth-level workers.

Cross-country tour

Mr. Prasad also said Mr. Shah would also embark on a whirlwind tour of 95 days, till September, to every State of the country and interact with party workers himself.

“Mr. Shah said that when the BJP won in 2014, analysts said the party had peaked. After the results of the 2017 [Assembly] elections, again, it was claimed that the party has peaked,” Mr. Prasad said.

“However, he believes that the golden age of the party, or its peak, will be reached only after a BJP chief minister will be installed in every State and the party occupy positions of power from the panchayat to Parliament level,” Mr. Prasad quoted the party president as saying. Mr. Shah also said Mr. Modi was the most popular leader in the country since Independence.

“Analysts also said the BJP does well against the Congress but fails in front of regional formations. This too was disproved in the last set of Assembly polls. The party must now prepare to fight polls in not only Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka but also continue political work in Kerala, West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh,” said Mr. Prasad, quoting Mr Shah. The party, at its last executive meeting in Delhi had asked for volunteers from among party members for full time devotion to the programmes attached to the Deendayal Upadhyaya centenary year. “Nearly 2,470 volunteers have come forward to devote a full year to the cause, 1,441 for six months, and 3,78,000 for 15 days,” said Mr. Prasad.

Mr. Shah did not spare any words when it came to the opposition and the apprehensions expressed over the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). “So EVMs were alright when the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) won in 2007, and the Samajwadi Party won in 2012 in Uttar Pradesh, but not now. Or when the Congress won in Punjab this time. This kind of campaign is an insult to the Election Commission,” Mr. Prasad quoted Mr. Shah as saying.

Mr. Prasad himself launched a broadside at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s claim that as an engineer he could prove that EVMs could be hacked by saying, “There is a chief minister who is himself a hacker.” He added that current party spokesman G.V.L. Narasimha Rao’s own doubts about EVMs expressed in a book written by him was “not the official stance of the party.”

The governments of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura came in for criticism from Mr. Shah over what he termed as attacks on his party workers. “The party in power in Kerala especially the Chief Minister and incidents of violence against BJP workers in his own constituency was mentioned by Mr Shah. He will spend at least 3 days in his 95-day travel in Kerala,” said Mr. Prasad.

The Law Minister also took questions on some of the issues dominating the headlines. He said the “government was alive to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir” and that he did not set much score by the comments made by former chief minister of the State and National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah saying that the latter “flip flops from nationalist to quasi-separatist too often.” Mr. Prasad also added that the national executive that is to take up the political resolution to discuss at the meet will discuss “every important issue” over the next 24 hours.

On the question of whether the issue of building a Ram Temple in Ayodhya had been discussed, Mr. Prasad replied in the negative, saying, “We don’t have to discuss the Ram Mandir in every meet, it is on our manifesto for the 2014 polls and the Sankalp Patra for the U.P. polls. It is our stated aim.”

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 3:54:56 AM |

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