Kulia (Odisha): BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday dubbed the proposed “mahagathbandhan” (grand alliance) of opposition parties as “helpless” and asserted that his party would retain power after the upcoming Lok Sabha polls as only Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership could thwart any misadventure by Pakistan.
In a stinging attack on the Congress, he blamed the four generations of the Gandhi family for poverty still prevailing in the country.
“Four generations of Rahul baba’s (Congress chief Rahul Gandhi) family were in power, but the country is still fighting against poverty. The BJP government is working for the welfare and development of the poor, tribals and Dalits,” Shah told a BJP workers’ meeting here in Odisha’s Cuttack district.
He claimed that the nation’s mood was very clear to return Modi to power and appealed to the people of Odisha to be part of this by electing a large number of MPs of the saffron party from the state.
Shah hit out at the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the state, saying Odisha remained backward, despite the flow of huge funds from the Centre, because of the inefficiency and inaction on the part of the Naveen Patnaik government.
“The mahagathbandhan of opposition parties is devoid of a proper leadership, policies and agenda, but they claim that they can give a strong government. The country needs a majboot (strong) government and not a majboor (helpless) government…only the BJP is capable of providing such a government,” he said.
Stating that more than 26 political parties were solidly backing the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Shah ridiculed the proposed opposition coalition ahead of the Lok Sabha election.
The BJP chief asserted that the prime minister was thinking about the country’s security round-the-clock and working sincerely to safeguard our frontiers, which the constituents of the proposed “mahagathbandhan” were incapable of doing.
When terrorists sent by Pakistan had mounted an assault in Uri, Modi took revenge within 10 days by sending soldiers to carry out surgical strikes in their territory, he said, adding, “Only Narendra Modi is capable of doing it and not the Congress.”
Stating that Modi successfully elevated the image of India across the globe, Shah said when the prime minister spoke in an Indian language at the United Nations General Assembly, everyone in the country felt proud.
He added that during his visits to several states, he had found that people were desperate to re-install Modi as the prime minister.
“It makes the mandate of the 2019 polls very clear. The mood of the nation is clear. Narendra Modi will form the government again with an overwhelming majority,” Shah said.
The BJP chief also appealed to the people of Odisha to be part of the nation’s mood and send more number of MPs of the saffron party to further bolster Modi’s prospects.
“We need the blessings of Lord Jagannath and the people of Odisha in the upcoming election,” he said.
Highlighting the achievements of the BJP-led government, Shah said more than eight crore toilets were constructed across the country, 13 crore women and infants were covered under the immunisation programme and a large number of poor were provided with houses and LPG connections since the NDA came to power in 2014.
For the first time since Independence, the country saw a prime minister in Modi, who gifted the poor tribal people their due share in the earnings from mining operations, he said.
While there was no provision for mineral area development during the previous Congress rule, the BJP-led government stopped the entire money from going to industries and ensured that a major share of it was used for development of these areas, Shah said, adding that Odisha received over Rs 4,000 crore under the District Mineral Foundation (DMF).
Seeking to motivate the party cadre in the state, he said the BJP was different from the other political parties.
“It is a party of workers and not leaders. Different analyses have shown that the party performs well when its workers from down below work with dedication,” Shah added.
Noting that Modi’s vision of a new India could only be established by the hard work of the party workers, he appealed to them not to rest until the BJP governments were formed both in Odisha and at the Centre.
Shah’s meeting covered four Lok Sabha segments — Cuttack, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara. The four Lok Sabha seats include 28 Assembly segments.
The BJP president’s visit was politically significant as it came four days after Rahul Gandhi addressed a public meeting at Tomando, near Bhubaneswar, on January 25.
Shah’s visit is also considered important as he came to Odisha after three back-to-back visits of Modi on December 24, January 5 and 15.
The general election and the Odisha Assembly polls are expected to be held together this year.
The BJP has been making serious efforts to bag a large number of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha and also to put an end to Patnaik’s uninterrupted rule in the state since 2000.
The saffron party had won only one Lok Sabha seat and 10 of the 147 Assembly seats in the state in the 2014 polls.