In every election since the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, the BJP had increased its mass base and has ended up winning most of them, party president Amit Shah said on Friday. He was addressing the media to mark three years of the NDA government. The question of whether “achhe din”, the 2014 war cry of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have indeed arrived, is better addressed to the poor who are beneficiaries of the government’s schemes, he said.
The electoral successes of the BJP, Shah said, are “a certificate from the public for the performance of this government.” “I have seen that there is a propensity to be sarcastic about acche din. But ask the 2 crore women who got domestic gas connections or the teenaged daughter of the 4.5 crore people who got toilets built under Swacch Bharat. They will tell you whether acche din have arrived or not,” Shah said. That is why he said the NDA tag line on its third anniversary is “Saath hai vishwas hai, ho raha vikas hai (we are together and there is trust, hence there is development.”
He also supported the action of Major L Gogoi who used a Kashmiri as a human shield and was recently awarded by the Army. “I support what he did. He brought election officials and Kashmir police personnel safely out of that area. I appreciate and support it,” Shah said claiming that the government would soon find a solution to the Kashmir issue. Introduction of GST, surgical strikes, crackdown on black money and benaami property, distribution of gas connections, one rank one pension for the Army, increase of maternity leave to 26 weeks, were among the list of achievements he flagged.
Asked if action by investigative agencies against Trinamool Congress to the family of former finance minister P Chidambaram showed that BJP is following Indira Gandhi’s ways of keeping the Opposition in check, Shah said: “Do not compare (us) with Indira Gandhi. Have we imposed Emergency? Have we gagged you? People amass Rs 1000 crore wealth and you expect the government not to act? The Narada tapes showed Trinamool leaders accepting cash. Some of them were not even wearing their shirt while accepting cash. You expect the government not to act?” Shah said.
The biggest achievement of the government in the last three years, Shah said, had been to erase dynasty rule, corruption and appeasement politics from the Indian political lexicon. Replying to a question about employment generation and apprehensions of job losses in the IT industry Shah said: “These are newspaper reports. Do you believe in all newspaper reports? It is not possible to give jobs to all 125 crore people; besides, the process of enumerating employment generation is not foolproof either…had Congress brought out a white paper on its 10-year rule, maybe (its) government would not have lost.”
This remark was in response to the Congress demand for a white paper on employment. “Even our political opponents have not been able to call us corrupt,” he said. On a question about Presidential polls, Shah said: “We will talk to the Opposition about that when time comes.”
The surgical strikes, he said, showcased the bravery of the Army and the political will of the Prime Minister to the world and sent a message that India is not to be trifled with. On one rank one pension, he said that successive governments had turned a deaf ear to the demand from jawans but it was the NDA that fulfilled the long-pending promise.
In reply to a question, he said the party had forgotten its core issues including the Ram temple and the Uniform Civil Code.
As he was listing the government’s achievements, he took out a handkerchief to wipe his face prompting photographers to scramble for a fitting frame. A smiling Shah quipped: “Arrey bhai, this will be of no use. We are not losing elections anytime soon.”