Amaravati BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday called upon the party's rank and file to strive to make Andhra Pradesh the "BJP's gateway to the south" by strengthening it at all levels in the state.
The BJP and the ruling Telugu Desam are allies in Andhra Pradesh and Shah's comment is being seen as an indication that the saffron outfit may chart its own course in the southern state.
"In the south, the BJP will emerge the strongest in AP. This will happen after the BJP is strengthened at all levels in the state", Shah told over 25,000 polling booth-level workers of the party at a `Maha Sammelan' in Vijayawada this evening.
Calling the Maha Sammelan (mega gathering) a "milestone" and the beginning of a new chapter for the party, Shah said efforts were on to strengthen the BJP in AP for the last three years.
"The Narendra Modi government sanctioned projects worth Rs 1.75 lakh crore for AP in the last three years, which never happened since Independence.
"So, when Narendra bhai comes to Visakhapatnam in July (for the BJP's national executive meeting), light up your houses, decorate them with rangoli, burst crackers and make it a festival. I will also tour AP for three days in August," Shah said.
The BJP chief said the issue of special category status (SCS) to AP is no longer relevant as the Centre last year announced a development package for the state.
"Many people still keep questioning about special category status to AP. Let them open their ears wide and listen. We have opened many national educational institutions, sanctioned Rs 1 lakh crore for roads.
"The Centre is bearing the full cost of Polavaram project. Under the special economic package announced by the Centre, AP will not get even a single rupee less than what it would have got under SCS," the BJP chief asserted.
He, however, evaded any reference to the future ties with the TDP and merely said, "We are coalition partners and our two ministers in the AP government are doing a very good job".
Talking about the three-year rule of the Modi government, Shah said it has launched as many as 106 new schemes for people's welfare since 2014.
"There is a scheme for everyone the youths, farmers, women, the poor. Seven crore youths availed of loans under Mudra Yojana for self-employment and job provision. The Modi government works for the welfare of people."
He noted that the BJP was the largest political party in the world with a membership of 11 crore.
"We have over 330 members in Parliament and 1,387 in state legislatures. We have our own governments in 13 states and are coalition partners in four other states. We can proudly say that the world famous leader Narendra Modi belongs to the BJP," Shah observed.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said a "Modi Fest" would be organised across the country from tomorrow till 15 June where the BJP members would go door-to-door and propagate the Modi government's programmes.
"This programme is not against anyone but only to expand our base in all parts of the country," he added.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, BJP state president Kambhampati Hari Babu, state ministers Kamineni Srinivas, P Manikyala Rao and other senior leaders attended the meet.
Updated Date: May 26, 2017 07:44:24 IST