BJP PRESIDENT Amit Shah on Wednesday asked party workers in Gujarat to clear their “debt” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by winning “nothing less than 150 seats” in the state Assembly elections to be held later this year. The Gujarat Vidhan Sabha has 182 seats.
Addressing a gathering of ‘page pramukhs’ (BJP cadres in-charge of electoral roll pages in different constituencies) and party leaders from eight districts of central Gujarat, Shah made them take an oath that they will settle for “nothing less than 150 seats”. He added, “Anything less than that will not count as a victory.” The rally was held on the helipad ground adjoining Vadodara-Ahmedabad expressway in Nadiad.
Recalling the party’s recent victory in UP polls, Shah said, “Everyone laughed at us when we said (during the campaigning phase) that we will get over 200 seats. But the party workers worked tirelessly to win the confidence of people, and we won 325… And this, after all, is Gujarat, where Narendrabhai was the CM — this is our chance to return the debt to Narendrabhai.” Referring to the BJP’s victory in recent polls in five states, Shah said, “We are a party that began with 10 members, had never won even municipalities. Today, political experts ask us how we formed a government in Manipur with just 2 per cent votes. They don’t understand the power of party workers.”
Encouraging BJP workers to give the coming polls all they have got, Shah said, “You are the owners of this party. No one can win elections except page and booth pramukhs — those 50 families on your list is all you need to win. Will you take Modiji’s message to them? Will you ensure that they cast their votes before noon?” Shah gave credit to Modi for completion of the Sardar Sarovar Project and blamed the Congress for delaying it for years. “The foundation stone of Narmada Dam was laid by (first Prime Minister) Jawaharlal Nehru two years before I was born. Look at the fate…it has been completed (only) now,” he said. “When he (Modi) cleared the long-pending permission to raise the dam’s height, former (Gujarat) CM Anandi Patel installed the gates and (incumbent CM) Vijay Rupani has now closed them. Narendra Modi will come for Narmada puja soon.”
The BJP chief criticised state Congress leaders, especially former state Congress president Arjun Modhwadia, who visited Narmada relief colony just days before the Narmada control authority permitted the state government to close the gates. “Such is the malice among Congress leaders towards the Narmada dam project that Arjun Modhwadia went to incite the affected people against the state government by asking them to point out the shortcomings of their rehabilitation.” Shah also visited the birthplace of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Nadiad after inaugurating the party’s new office, Kamalam, in the town. CM Rupani also accused the Congress of “inciting” people affected by the Narmada project. “The Congress has no leader, no policy. Rahul Gandhi is no leader. They are shedding crocodile tears for farmers, (but) when the Congress was in power, farmers went to ask for power and water, and they were showered with bullets instead,” Rupani alleged.