Victories in state polls to lay foundation for BJP's win in 2019: Amit Shah
New Delhi, Nov 12: BJP president Amit Shah on Monday said the ongoing Assembly elections were not ordinary polls, but "very important" for the country, as his party's win would lay a strong foundation for the Narendra Modi government's return to power in 2019 and making it "invincible" for a long time.
In a video-address to party workers in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, Shah said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should have a long and uninterrupted rule from panchayat to Parliament like the Congress had for over 30 years to realise its goal of making India great and a "vishwaguru" (world leader).
The Modi government had done a lot but five years were not enough to pull the country out of the "mess" left behind by the decades-long Congress rule and make it an economic and military superpower, he added. Assembly polls are being held in five states and the stakes are especially high for the BJP in three of those -- Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan -- where it is in power.
The saffron party is in power in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh since 2003 and its rivals believe that any serious slide in its performance in the three states would energise the opposition ahead of next year's Lok Sabha polls. Telangana and Mizoram are the two other poll-bound states. Shah asked the party workers in Madhya Pradesh to work not merely for a win but for such a massive victory that it would send a chill down the spines of the BJP's rivals on the day of counting of votes.
"The elections in 2018 should not be seen as ordinary polls. These are very important elections for the country as these will be followed by the (Lok Sabha) election in 2019," he said. Noting that the BJP had been in power at the Centre twice -- first under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and now under Modi -- Shah said the country would march ahead by re-electing the current dispensation. The Vajpayee government was voted out in 2004. "Like the Congress got to rule from panchayat to Parliament for 30-35 years after independence, the BJP should have a similar reign in the country to realise its aim of making India a great nation and Mother India a vishwaguru," Shah said. "Winning the 2019 election will make the BJP invincible from panchayat to Parliament for a long time. An invincible BJP, we have strong confidence, will pave the way for a prosperous, secure and culturally rich India," he added.
Referring to a number of poll victories the party had notched up since it came to power at the Centre in 2014, Shah said it was a result of Modi's leadership, the way he had worked to win over people's confidence, and the hardwork of the party workers. He accused the Congress of taking the side of infiltrators and Naxals, asking its president, Rahul Gandhi, to make his party's stand clear on these issues. If elected to power in 2019, the BJP government will launch a nationwide exercise to identify and expel infiltrators, Shah said.
While his party's governments had taken tough measures against Maoists, the Congress was soft on them and saw revolutionaries in them, the BJP chief added. "We should take our stands on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Naxalism to every household to show our commitment to national security," he said. The NRC exercise was underway in Assam to identify the infiltrators in the north-eastern state and prima facie, over 40 lakh of them were identified, Shah noted. He heaped praise on Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, saying he had presented an ideal example of how a state should be run. Chouhan turned a "bimaru" (sick) Madhya Pradesh into a developed state and his government's aim was to make it one of the most prosperous states in the country in its next term, Shah said.
He accused the Congress of trying to divert people's attention from the BJP's development agenda and asked the party workers to take the details of the state government's works, Modi's message and the party's ideology to every household. Governments were not for creating political controversies but for lifting the living standards of the poor, the BJP chief said, citing a host of development figures of the party's governments at the Centre and in Madhya Pradesh.
Over two crore poor families had got houses, more than one crore homes were electrified, seven crore toilets were constructed, 5.5 crore families were given LPG connection, 13 crore people had benefitted from the "Mudra" loan and 11 crore farmers had received soil health cards across the country, he said.
Referring to the progress Madhya Pradesh had made under Chouhan, Shah said the budget for the state had risen five times from Rs 21,647 crore under the last Congress regime in 2003 and the per capita income had shot up from Rs 14,000 to Rs 72,499.
He also referred to growth in the agriculture sector in the state and accused the Congress of misleading farmers. Without naming Digvijay Singh, Shah asked the BJP workers to inform the masses about the state's poor conditions under "shriman bantadhaar".
BJP sources said Shah addressed over 2.5 lakh party workers, drawn from close to 65,200 polling booths of the 230 Assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh. The state will go to the polls on November 28 and the results will be announced on December 11.