New Delhi, August 9: Pledging to bring about “change” in the country, as people had huge expectations from his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday told delegates of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to dedicate themselves to social causes such as education of the girl child that take the nation forward. Stressing that the country was above the party, Modi said he was duty bound to bring “change” and he was hopeful he would be successful in this endeavour.
“Things have already started changing. And I can tell from my experience in the last 60 days that we will be able to effect change. Ever since the new government came to power, the world view has changed with regard to India and that is because we have come to power with a decisive mandate,” Modi said to over 2,000 BJP delegates who had assembled from across the country at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here.
Modi, addressing the national council meet which ratified Amit Shah as the next party chief, said that by dedicating every year to a cause of national interest and striving to secure it sincerely, the BJP will be able to create a new identity for itself. “Let us dedicate every year for a cause which takes forward the interest of the nation, be it issues of water scarcity or education of the girl child. Let every member of the BJP work to realise it. This will not only widen our mass support but develop our nation,” Modi said, his speech frequently punctuated with “Bharat Mata ki Jai” chants from exultant party workers dressed in saffron and white kurtas.
“Every party worker should work on programmes on the social issue for a particular year. For instance, one year can be dedicated to energy saving… the next to building toilets in villages… sit with people in the villages and work for such causes,” he said. Modi in his 30-minute speech in Hindi also said he was committed to finding out ways for the welfare of the poor. “We have to find out ways to uplift the poor,” the 63-year-old prime minister said.
In an obvious attack on the Congress, Modi said: “Those who have suffered a massive defeat in the elections are still not able to desist from engaging in old vote bank politics. They are engaged in disturbing the social fabric.” The statement by Modi, who did not name the Congress, came after the Congress and other opposition parties like the Samajwadi Party accused the BJP of fanning communal violence in Uttar Pradesh.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who led an unprecedented attack on the BJP by trooping to the Lok Sabha speaker’s podium Aug 6 to demand a debate on rising communal violence, had said the violence in Uttar Pradesh was “artificially and deliberately engineered”. Modi said that at such a time, BJP workers will have to play a crucial role to ensure communal and national unity so that the nation moves forward.
“When the country makes progress, its 125 crore people make progress,” he said. He also took a swipe at the Congress for using “different and tough yardsticks” to judge the performance of his government. “Those who have not done anything for 60 years are asking for our account of 60 days,” he said. Asking party workers to repeat the Lok Sabha feat by securing a majority in the upcoming state elections, BJP president Amit Shah said: “The rise of Narendra Modi to the highest position in our democracy, beginning as a grassroots organiser and belonging to an economically backward family, is also in keeping with this tradition.”
The 49-year-old close aide of Modi said the BJP was able to get the support of the common people in the general election because it projected a leader who could “fulfil people’s hunger for development”. He asked the BJP rank and file to prepare for assembly polls in Jharkhand, Haryana, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir where, he added, the BJP would “form the government on its own”.
Shah, whom Modi termed ‘man of the match’ of the team that won the Lok Sabha election, said the BJP has a rich tradition of grassroots work and family background has never been a consideration for leadership. Home Minister Rajnath Singh said India was not just an economic force but one of the best cultures of the world.
“We have to realise the inner strength of our country. Power is not a goal, it is a means to strive forward,” Rajnath Singh said amidst loud applause. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley credited the NDA government with “restoring credibility of the economy, breaking policy paralysis and tax terrorism of UPA (United Progressive Alliance)”. The meet also saw the passing of the BJP resolution, which was introduced by Jaitley and supported by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.