New Delhi: Giving a clarion call of “Ajeya Bharat, Atal BJP” (Invincible India, firm BJP), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday told BJP leaders that the party has no “chunauti” (challenge) for 2019 as the “so-called mahagatbandhan” (coalition of parties) against the BJP-led NDA has “no leadership” and has “unclear policy and corrupt intentions”. Mr Modi said poitical outfits that are “unable to stand each other” have been forced to join hands, which was proof of his government’s popularity and the BJP’s big success. Exuding confidence, BJP president Amit Shah said the party will retain power at the Centre in 2019 and then remain in power for “the next 50 years”. Asserting that the country had moved towards the politics of performance, Mr Shah said the BJP had been working without taking any rest after assuming power in 2014.
In his valedictory speech at the BJP national executive meeting, Mr Modi paid tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who passed away last month, saying the party patriarch had given heft to the party’s ideology, culture and leadership. The PM lashed out at the Opposition for peddling “lies” and not challenging the government on geniune issues. “We have started our journey with confidence of victory. We enjoy the confidence of 125 crore people of India,” said senior Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, quoting the PM.
Taking on the Congress and the “mahagatbandhan”, the PM said the Opposition’s allegations were based on “falsehoods and lies” against his government. “We do not see any challenge... when they were in power they were a failure, and they are a failure even in Opposition,” said Mr Modi. The PM, as quoted by Mr Prasad, cited the example of Gujarat, the state of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, which once a stronghold of the Congress, but has been under BJP rule for over 31 years because the party never let arrogance creep in, and for it the government was an instrument to empower people.
Lashing out at the Congress, Mr Modi said while the Opposition has a high place in democracy, but till today, the Opposition had not challenged the government on issues or its policies and ideology, but manufactures lies every day and keeps repeating it. His remarks were seen by many as an apparent reference to the Congress’ attack over the Rafale deal and demonetisation, among others. He asked the BJP cadre to “unmask” the Congress with facts and logic. Mr Modi said the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress was not acceptable to any ally, even smaller outfits, and he (Rahul) was not acceptable to a few within his own party.
The PM claimed that his government had lived up to the slogan of “Sabka saath, sabka vikas” by bringing development to all without any consideration of caste, religion or region. Mr Modi mentioned various schemes which he said had benefited people in all regions and all sections of society.
On simultaneous polls, he said his government had already done “one nation, one tax”, a reference to the Goods and Services Tax, and “one nation, one power grid”, but was not for creating pressure on this issue. He wanted a debate in all sections of society on the issue of simultaneous polls, he said.
Earlier, Mr Shah expressed confidence about his party retaining power in 2019 and said the BJP would rule the country for the next 50 years. “Amit Shah said the party will win the 2019 elections because of its performance and then no one can dethrone the BJP for the next 50 years,” said Mr Prasad, adding that the projection was based on the work and achievements of the party-ruled government at the Centre, and not arrogance. Mr Shah said Mr Modi became Gujarat CM in 2001 and the party has never lost an election and remains in power in the state because of the BJP’s performance.