Rajamahendravaram (Andhra Pradesh), March 7: BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday said that he wants the party to emerge as a key force in the electoral battle in south India.
Addressing a public meeting in Rajamahendravaram, as Rajahmundry is now called, he said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should spread to all regions of the country.
"Modiji has given slogan of Congress-free country. If we have to free the country from Congress, we have to ensure that be it north, south, west and everywhere region, the BJP flag should fly high and 'vande mataram' slogan is sung," he said.
In Andhra Pradesh, where BJP is a partner in Telugu Desam Party-led government, this was the first public meeting of BJP after state's bifurcation.
He asked BJP workers to take the party to every village and booth in the state and strengthen the organisation. "Those who say that BJP is a party of the north should know that the party unit in Andhra Pradesh is the strongest in the country," he said.
He claimed that the BJP which started with 11 only members, is today the largest party in the world with 11 crore strong membership.
The BJP chief said that though there are NDA governments at both the centre and in the state, their political rivals are making a false propaganda that the BJP-led government at the Centre is not extending necessary support to Andhra Pradesh.
During the last one-and-half years, Modi government has given schemes worth Rs.1.40 lakh crore to Andhra Pradesh, he said.
Stating that Polavaram project is the lifeline of the state, the BJP leader said it was Modi government which is making it a reality by merging seven 'mandals' (of Telangana) with Andhra Pradesh.
He said the state was selected under the project to ensure 24x7 electricity in every village. Listing out the initiatives, he said national highway works worth Rs. 65,000 crore were sanctioned for the state.
Shah said Kakinada and Visakhapatnam were selected under smart cities project while the central government also released Rs.1,500 crore as initial assistance for development of new state capital Amaravati.
He said an industrial park at a cost of Rs.22,000 crore will come up in the state. HPCL refinery in Visakhapatnam will be built at a cost of Rs.25,000.
He said it would take seven days for him to read the entire list of works sanctioned for the state during last one-and-half years.
Shah challenged Congress party to explain to people what it did for Andhra Pradesh during last 60 years. He alleged that the Congress insulted the state and this forced N. T. Rama Rao to launch the TDP for self-respect of Telugus.
Interestingly, NTR's daughter and former central minister D. Purandareswari was translating Shah's speech in Telugu.
She quit Congress party to join BJP on the eve of 2014 elections.