The BJP is now aiming to grab power in Odisha where the Biju Janata Dal is in its forth consecutive term.
That the BJP’s desire for expansion remains unsatiated despite ruling 13 states and sharing power in four others was evident from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s road show on his way to the national executive meeting.
He fought sweltering heat to hold a 40-minute-long show on the streets of capital Bhubaneswar in the afternoon, waving and smiling to an enthusiastic crowd on both sides of the road.
There were clear indications that the BJP was looking to upstage regional parties from their strongholds, an ambitious plan like its vow of a “Congress-mukt Bharat”.
ust three years into power, Shah declared Modi the most popular leader of independent India who has an “extraordinary connect” with the people.
“This is not our peak…We should have our chief minister in every state. We have to rule from panchayat to Parliament. It is only then it will be called golden era for the BJP,” Shah said.
“Don’t be complacent. Let’s become a true pan-India party to showcase not only the BJP’s success, but make India great in the committee of nations,” he told party leaders.
Shah, seen as the chief architect of the party’s poll victories, also trashed opposition claim about tampering with electronic voting machines (EVMs). Nobody spoke of it when the BJP lost the 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections and the 2015 assembly polls in Bihar and Delhi, he added.
Modi’s party won Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand with three-fourths majority, retained Goa and snatched Manipur from the Congress. It will face polls in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka over the next one year, before the bells finally ring for the 2019 election.
Shah is already in election mode. He asked every member of the BJP’s national executive team, including Union ministers, to spare 15 days for organisational works.
Shah will also spend 95 days till September, travelling across the country to meet workers at the booth level. His target area includes states such as Kerala and Odisha, where the BJP has weak presence but high hopes. The list also includes West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and the Northeast, where recent polls point towards a growing BJP presence.
Over the past one year, around 3.78 lakh workers enrolled for a programme through which they will be sent outside their home state for organisation works.
Shah mocked political observers who questioned the BJP’s ability to defeat regional parties and cited the rout of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party to buttress his argument.
“Earlier, a two-thirds majority was called a big victory. We changed that narrative by winning UP and Uttarakhand with a three-fourths margin,” Shah added.
Modi will address the conclave on Sunday.