New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government at the Centre is working for “making India” while the Congress is working for breaking, BJP President Amit Shah said on Tuesday, asserting party will return to power in 2019 with a majority bigger than what it got in 2014.
Addressing BJP’s two-day national executive meeting, Shah said that Narendra Modi government has worked a lot for the development of the country. Today, India has surpassed France in terms of economy. The BJP has government in 19 states and ruling 75 per cent of the country. “We should not be complacent and should work to ensure a bigger victory in 2019,” he said.
Launching a blistering attack on the Opposition in his inaugural address at the party’s two-day national executive meeting, he said the proposed “maha-gathbandhan” (grand alliance) of the BJP’s rivals is an illusion and myth, and will make no difference to its fortunes.
He further alleged that the opposition is trying to spread misinformation regarding the SC/ST Act, but that will not affect the party’s performance in 2019 elections. “There has been an attempt to create confusion regarding SC/ST issue, but that won’t cause any impact on 2019 elections,” he said.
Briefing reporters on Shah’s speech in the closed-door meeting, Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said he termed the Opposition as “disruptionists” and that it no longer seems to be representing the voice of the people.
He made these comments in the context of the no-confidence motion brought by opposition parties in Lok Sabha in the Monsoon Session, saying that there was no reason for it and accusing them of being in “denial mode” after it was defeated with a big margin.
With many political watchers suggesting that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may find it hard to repeat its 2014 feat, Shah said it will handily win in 19 states where it is in power and also emerge victorious in states such as West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana due to “anti-incumbency” factor against regional parties in power there.
Speaking on Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue, Shah said that the government will implement the NRC in such a way that no illegal immigrant will be allowed to enter the Indian territories.
He also took a dig at Congress leader and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who had recently said that the Modi government had failed on all fronts, saying that while Singh follows his party, Modi leads his.
Hitting back at former finance minister P Chidambaram over his criticism of the government’s economic policies, especially demonetisation, Shah said over three lakh shell companies were shut down hampering black money operations and the numbers of income tax assesses have doubled.
“Our workers should take on P Chidambaram and company and challenge them for debates on facts,” he said.
He also made a strong pitch for the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that seeks to grant Indian citizenship to minorities being persecuted in neighbouring countries, saying it must be done without any hesitation.
Briefing the media about Shah’s speech, Defence Minister Sitharaman quoted him saying that if Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian or Jain refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan or Bangladesh approach India seeking refuge, the country will help them without any hesitation.
Shah also blamed the Congress of stalling the Triple Talaq Bill in the Rajya Sabha with its “hypocritical behaviour”. “On triple talaq he (Amit Shah) has very clearly said that Many Islamic countries have cleared it and it’s not an issue in those countries. But here in Rajya Sabha the Bill is stuck due to Congress’ hypocritical behaviour and we have to pass it” Sitharaman quoted him as saying.
“BJP chief said that in 2019 elections, we’ll easily win the 19 states where it’s our government and we are in second place in states like Bengal, Odisha and Telangana. Anti-incumbency always benefits those who are in second place. He said we’ll perform well in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu too,” said Sitharaman citing Shah.
“On the issue of urban Naxalites, BJP Chief Amit Shah spoke about Congress party that does vote bank politics on it and he also appreciated Maharashtra government and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis,” Sitharaman cited Shah as saying during the meeting.
Sitharaman also said that Shah mourned the absence of late former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was one of its founding members, in the first executive meeting after his death. Shah said that the void he left could never be filled.
He also hailed the passage of a bill granting constitutional status to a commission for Other Backward Classes and claimed that the government’s works have touched on all segments of society.
Earlier, during the office bearers’ meeting, the party decided to defer its organisational polls to pave way for Amit Shah to continue as BJP president till the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. His second term was scheduled to end on January 26, 2019. He will be leading the party’s campaign for the upcoming state Assembly and general elections.
The two-day meeting, that will resume on Sunday, was attended by party’s key leaders from all states and Union Territories besides its national leadership. Top party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers of party-ruled states, were in attendance.
The meeting comes two days after 35 organisations belonging to upper castes called a “Bharat bandh” against the amendments made to the SC/ST Act. The party will have to do a balancing act as groups claiming to represent the upper castes, its core vote bank, have been protesting the government’s decision to restore the original and stringent provisions of a law on atrocities against Dalits and tribals, after the Supreme Court had relaxed those.
During the two-day meeting, the party is also expected to articulate its response to the opposition’s attack on the government over the spiralling fuel prices.
The issues of the National Register of Citizens, passage of key bills — including the one to restore the original provisions of the law on atrocities against Dalits and another that accorded constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) — in Parliament will also come up for discussion at the national executive meet, the sources said.