Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday scoffed at Opposition efforts to forge a Mahagathbandhan for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, saying it was nothing but their compulsion and a vindication of the BJP-led governments success.
Setting the tone for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he sees "no challenge" to the BJP and described unity efforts among Opposition parties "unable to stand each other" as proof of his government's popularity and his party's big success.
Modi said that the proposed grand alliance of the Opposition was leaderless, had no clear policy and its intentions were corrupt. The Bharatiya Janata Party does not see a challenge anywhere. The opposition parties had failed to deliver when they were in power and now in their present role, he claimed.
Giving the slogan of 'Ajey Bharat, Atal Bhajapa' (invincible India, firm BJP), Modi exuded confidence that his party will win in 2019. "We have started our journey with confidence of victory. We enjoy the confidence of 125 crore people of India."
In his concluding address at the party's two-day national executive meeting, Modi also heaped scorn on Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying his party's leadership is not acceptable to any ally, is seen as a burden by some others and is not acceptable to a few within his own party.
The Opposition has neither ideology nor a leader and any coordination, with its policies unclear and intentions corrupt, Modi said, according to Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who briefed the media on the speech in the closed-door meeting.
"Today, there is discussion about Mahagathbandhan. People who do not see eye to eye, who cannot walk together, who have no political or ideological understanding, who can't even tolerate each other are thinking of forging a Mahagathbandhan and embracing each other. It is the biggest vindication of our success," Prasad quoted Modi as saying.
"Mahagathbandhan — its leader is not known, the policy is unclear and intention is corrupt. These are so powerful words of the Prime Minister...," Prasad said.
"We do not see any challenge," he said, lashing out at the Opposition over its allegations based on "falsehoods and web of lies" against his government.
When they were in power they were a failure, and they are a failure even in Opposition, the prime minister said.
Slamming rival parties, Modi said they cannot see eye to eye and never stand each other but have been forced to embrace one another to challenge the BJP. It shows the government's popularity and acceptance of its programmes and leadership by the people, he said.
He added that his government has lived up to the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' by bringing development to all without any consideration of caste, religion or region.
Mocking Rahul without naming him, Modi said nobody, including small parties, is ready to accept the Congress's leadership. "Some even consider it a burden. There are some within it (Congress) who are not in a position to accept the leadership," he said.
The Opposition has not challenged the government on issues or its policies and ideology, but manufacture lies every day and keeps repeating it, he said, apparently in reference to its attack on him over issues of corruption in the Rafale deal and demonetisation, among other matters.
If issues are debated, then the question will come as to what "one family" did for 48 years and what his government had done in 48 months, Modi said, targeting the Congress's Gandhi family. He asked BJP workers to "unmask" the Congress with facts and logic.
On a day BJP president Amit Shah claimed that his party would rule for 50 years on the basis of its performance once it comes to power in 2019, Modi like Shah also cited the example of Gujarat, where the BJP has had an almost uninterrupted reign for 31 years.
Modi said unlike other parties, the BJP has neither arrogance of power nor does it see government as a chair to grab by all means but uses it as an instrument to empower people. "We work to fulfil our principles to which we remain firm. Our strategy may change from time to time," he said.
Asking his party to bust the Opposition's "lies and falsehoods", he said the Congress nationalised banks and mines claiming that it will help the poor and then changed track in the name of reforms. It is important to ask what benefits the poor got during the period, he said.
The world, Modi said, is discussing policies of his government based on 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas". He spoke of the intensive drive to cover the poor households, especially in villages with high concentration of scheduled castes and tribes, with LPG connections, electricity and insurance cover, among other welfare measures.
Modi also mentioned the newly-launched health insurance scheme, Ayushman Bharat, which seek to cover over 10 crore poor families.
He also paid rich tributes to party stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee and recalled his message to the party when its ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya died in 1968 that the sun may have disappeared but stars should shine to further its ideology. He drew on the former prime minister's name to give the slogan 'Ajey Bharat, Atal BJP'.
He batted for development with human face, and equality with humanity. The prime minister also said he wanted the country to be affluent but its foundation should be simplicity. He asked party workers to strengthen its presence at every polling booth across the country, saying this is gateway to electoral success. He also pushed for use of social media.
Modi asked them to move around in groups to tell people how his government has worked to fulfil dream of Mahatma Gandhi, whose birth anniversary falls on 2 October.
On simultaneous polls, he said his government has already done "one nation, one tax", a reference to the Goods and Services Tax, and "one nation, one power grid", but is not for creating pressure on this issue. He said he wants a debate in all sections of society on the issue of simultaneous polls.
When asked whether issues such as the Opposition's allegation on the Rafale deal or the raging issue of rise in oil prices came up for discussion, Prasad answered in the negative. Various government functionaries have been speaking on this matter. When asked about the Ram temple issue, Prasad said the matter is currently being heard in the Supreme Court.
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