Haji Gulab Mohammad, in his sixties, waited with three of his friends at the NDMC convention centre on Friday to welcome BJP chief Amit Shah, in the capital as part of his 110-day long nationwide tour. The four men, all from south Delhi’s Hauz Rani, said their entire neighbourhood used to support the Congress. “Back in the 1990s, you would have never found a single BJP worker in our neighbourhood,” said Haji Kallu, now the minority morcha president for the BJP’s New Delhi zilla. In the February 2015 Delhi elections, people in the area voted en masse for AAP. “Now, it’s BJP’s turn,” the men said.
Like the women from the Mahila Morcha in CR Park, the men too had been waiting for Shah since 9 am, but it was now time for namaz. Mohammad nudged his friends and the group left for the neighbouring masjid. Ten minutes later, Shah arrived and was greeted by BJP workers, Kerala drummers, and young men holding party flags. Later in the evening, addressing a gathering of Delhi’s “intellectuals” who were handpicked as invitees, Shah took a jibe at the Congress saying a party which considered “dynasty” as the quality benchmark for selecting its leaders could never take the country forward. He also said that among all the political parties in the country, it was only the BJP and the Communist Party that had internal democracy.
“Who will become the party president after me?” he asked the audience. With no response from the audience, he continued: “Now tell me who will be the next Congress president after Soniaji (Gandhi)?” As audience members raised their hand to answer and laughed, Shah said his own rise within the BJP was a good example of a party with internal democracy. “If dynasty, instead of merit is the benchmark in a party, then it can never take the country forward,” he said. Shah said Congress, formed before the country’s independence, never had any consistent ideology and whoever wanted freedom joined it. “That is why Gandhiji wanted it (Congress) to be disbanded after independence,” he said.
“The kind of work they have done for the people can easily be compared. The Congress and the regional parties got long governance spells and made states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar ‘Bimaru’ (sick),” he said. ‘BI’ was known as Bihar which was in a good shape when the BJP and JD(U) was there, the BJP chief said. “M and R was known for Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan respectively, where progress can be seen,” he said, adding that ‘U’ stands for Uttar Pradesh where the BJP has formed a government and in five years, the image of the state will be changed.
During the course of his 45-minute long speech, he also listed the achievements of the BJP government at the Centre. “We take decisions that are good for the people. Our aim is not to increase votes, but to develop the country,” he said.
With PTI inputs