Prepare for assembly polls: BJP chief Amit Shah

New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS): BJP's rank and file should gear up for the forthcoming assembly elections so that we can form the government on our own, said Amit Shah who was ratified as the party chief Saturday at its national council meet, the first after it won the Lok Sabha polls with a thumping majority.

The day-long meet saw outgoing BJP chief and Home Minister Rajnath Singh saying the party will help emerge India not just as an economic force but reinstate her cultural heritage, and Finance Minsiter Arun Jaitley crediting the Modi government with ending "policy paralysis".

Amit Shah, 49, while addressing the meet at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here, said that the BJP was able to get the support of the common people in the general election because it projected a leader who could "fulfill people's hunger for development".

He called on the party cadre to repeat the feat in the state elections.

He asked BJP rank and file to prepare for assembly polls in Jharkhand, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Bihar, where, he added, the BJP would "form the government on its own". 

He said: "In Bihar Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav, two staunch rivals, are now arm in arm. But they don't know that the strength of any party lies in its ideology and in its cadre. We will form a government of our own in Bihar."

Shah went on to say that though crores of ruppees had been spent on cleaning Ganga in the past but there was no improvement. He said this was because cleaning Ganga has been treated as a programme rather than a civil movement.

"The history of our country is as old as the river Ganga. Our government is committed to making clean Ganga a civil movement." 

Shah said the BJP has a rich tradition of grassroot work and family background has never been a consideration for leadership.

"The rise of Narendra Modi to the highest position in our democracy, beginning as a grassroot organiser and belonging to an economically backward family, is also in keeping with this tradition," he added.

Rajnath Singh, on his part, said the BJP "is an ideology and cadre driven party". 

"The Congress has neither ideology nor cadre, and hence Modi's popularity was able to get the BJP a clear mandate in this election. The last seven months were the golden history of BJP which saw it emerge as the biggest party of the country...," Rajnath Singh said.

He justified Shah's elevation as the party president, saying it was under his aegis that the BJP managed to win 71 of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh.

"We have to realise the inner strength of our country. This mission of free India, initiatied by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is now the responsibility of Modi," Singh said amid applause.

He went on: "Power is not a goal, it is a means to strive forward. More hard work is needed so that power is not misused."

In the meet, Modi was welcomed with the party's favoured slogans outside the auditorium. Drummers specially called from Kerala played Chando Melam, a classical instrument.

Jaitley credited the 75-day NDA government for "restoring credibility of the economy, breaking policy paralysis, and tax terrorism of UPA (United Progressive Alliance)". 

He said that during the Congress rule the country's growth had slowed down.

"When the Congress government left, the industrial sector had come to a standstill and industries had begun to shrink. This was the condition in which the old government left the country," Jaitley said. He said said that during the previous government tenure, there was "institutional subversion".


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