Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, speaking at a press conference on the BJP national executive meeting on Saturday, said that party president Amit Shah would embark on a 95-day tour of the country.
"BJP rules most of the states in the country. But there are many states where we need to do well. Amit Shah said that we need to work toward this. The BJP working committee members will devote 15 days for this purpose. They will meet party workers," Prasad said.
He added that the BJP chief condemned violence against party workers in Kerala and West Bengal and that Shah would spend 3 days in Kerala.
"Because of his connect with the people and the trust people have on him, Amit Shah said that Narendra Modi is the most popular leader since Independence," Prasad said. "BJP chief said we must work toward fulfilling the PM's idea of new India and work for development. We discussed the various issues plaguing Odisha."
"When we won in 2014, they said BJP has reached its peak. In 2017, they said the BJP has appeared to have reached its peak. But Amit Shah said that the party is yet to hit its peak."
According to Prasad, Shah said that the BJP's golden time would come when it won in Karnataka, Odisha and West Bengal. "Now when we are in the land of Lord Jagannath, we firmly believe that BJP will win here too," Prasad said.
"We have 13 chief ministers in the country. We want every state to have a BJP chief minister. We want PM Modi to win a second term in 2019. Amit Shah said that the dream is to make BJP a pan India party: From panchayat to Parliament," he added.
Reflecting on the BJP's victory in Uttar Pradesh, Prasad said the BJP changed the definition of a big win and demolished regional satraps. "Winning 325 of the 403 seats proves that the people of UP are with the BJP. The UP result is a rejection of the politics of casteism and nepotism. The people have trusted the politics of development," Prasad said.
According to Prasad, Amit Shah said that opposition parties were looking for excuses for their defeat and questioning electronic voting machines was disrespectful and defaming the Election Commission.
"Opposition leaders find an excuse for their defeat. In 2004 and 2009, when the UPA won, there was no issue with electronic voting machines When BSP and SP won in UP, there was no issue with electronic voting machines. When Akali-BJP coalition lost in Punjab and AAP won in Delhi, there was no issue with electronic voting machines," Prasad said.
Speaking on the party chief's vision, Prasad said: "We must do this with the love and affection of the people. The golden age is not just for the BJP, but for India. Let us resolve to make India a truly great power in the comity of nations," he said.
The two-day BJP national executive meet, which began on Saturday, is expected to underline strategy for a big saffron push in states like Odisha where the BJP has traditionally been weak. The executive meets against the backdrop of the party’s stunning win in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand besides maiden conquest in Manipur. It will focus on expanding the party in politically important states like West Bengal and Odisha, which are key to Shah’s 2019 Lok Sabha poll strategy.
The choice of Odisha as the national executive venue highlights Shah's focus on the state as he believes that the party can boost its prospects due to anti-incumbency against BJD chief and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has been in power since 2000, and declining fortunes of the Congress. An impressive show by the BJP in recent local body polls in the state and internal fights in the BJD have boosted its morale.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was given a rousing welcome by the people on Saturday during his 9-kilometre roadshow that he held soon after arriving at the city airport to attend the BJP national executive meet. He was welcomed at the Biju Patnaik International Airport by senior party leaders, state chief secretary A P Padhi and Director General of Police K B Singh on behalf of the Odisha government after he boarded off the IAF's 'Raj Hans' aircraft.
Governor SC Jamir and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik were not seen at the airport to welcome the prime minister as his visit was "non-official" and political in nature, said the government sources. Clad in an all-white, Modi stood on the footrest of his Range Rover, beamed and waved at the people who had gathered on both sides of the road with lotus flowers in their hands to greet him.
Defying the security cordon, Modi even got off his vehicle a couple of times, walked to the people waiting for him for hours in the summer sun, greeted them and even shook hands with some of them. He also paid floral tributes to the freedom fighters and illustrious sons of the soil on his way to the Raj Bhavan.
As the prime minister's 9 kilometre-long roadshow passed through the main road connecting the airport and the Raj Bhavan, the chants of 'Modi .. Modi,' 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' and 'Bande Mataram' rent the air.
The state BJP also organised folk dance, songs and folk music at different places along the route taken by the prime minister. The members of the BJP's Mahila Morcha felicitated the prime minister in front of the Raj Bhavan, giving him lotus flowers.
After a 20-minute halt at Raj Bhavan, Modi resumed his roadshow. He got off the vehicle and walked for about half-a-kilometre near Jaidev Vihar, mingling freely with the people before arriving at Janata Maidan, the venue of the two-day national executive.
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Updated Date: Apr 15, 2017 20:59:44 IST