Aim for victory from panchayat to Parliament to cement pan-India presence: Amit Shah at BJP National Executive meet

Bhubaneshwar: BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday instructed the party workers not to be complacent after the party’s recent victories in the assembly polls and said that they must strive to win elections from panchayat to parliament in order to cement a pan-India presence.

A two-day BJP National Executive meeting began here on Saturday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah among other senior leaders in attendance.

National Executive members, party office-bearers and state unit chief will discuss the future strategy of the party at the meet, which began at 5 p.m. at Sant Kavi Bheem Bhoi Sabhagar at the Janata Maidan.

The main agenda of the meet is to discuss ways to increase its political footprint and plan a roadmap for the assembly and Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

“When we came to power in 2014, people said that the BJP has reached its peak. Earlier this year, after winning the assembly polls, they said the same thing.

“But president Amit Shah said that the BJP is yet to reach its peak… BJP needs to be present at every level of legislature, from Panchayat to Parliament,” BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

“Political pundits used to say that BJP can overcome Congress, but it puts up a poor showing before regional parties. But the assembly election results have changed that perception,” Prasad said.

The meeting also slammed the allegations of EVM voting machine tampering by political rivals.

“After their defeat in election, now some parties are looking for an excuse for losing. They’re hiding behind the excuse of EVMs.

“Such allegations are disrespectful to the Election Commission,” Prasad added.

Shah had held discussions with party office-bearers to set the meeting agenda.

PM Modi, who landed at the state capital in the afternoon, held a roadshow from the airport to the Raj Bhavan, covering a distance of around 8 km.

A large number of people stood along the road as Modi stood on his Range Rover’s foot rest with its door open acknowledging the cheering and slogan-chanting masses.

Odisha BJP chief Basanta Panda claimed that his road show will herald a “new era of politics” in the state, hopeful that his party, always a marginal force in this eastern state, will emerge as the key challenger to the ruling BJD by the time next Lok Sabha and assembly polls arrive in 2019.

Modi, who was clad in all white, beamed and waved at the people gathered on both sides of the road for a glimpse with lotus flowers in their hands.

Defying the security cordon he even got off his vehicle a couple of times, walked up to people, greeted them and even shook hands with some of them.

He also offered floral tributes to freedom fighters and illustrious sons of the soil on his way to the Raj Bhavan.

As the Prime Minister’s roadshow passed through the main road connecting the airport and the Raj Bhavan, the air was rent with the chants of ‘Modi .. Modi’, ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Bande Mataram’.

The state BJP also organised folk dance, songs and folk music at different places along the route taken by the Prime Minister.

He received lotus flowers when he was felicitated by members of the BJP’s Mahila Morcha in front of the Raj Bhavan.

After a 20-minute halt at Raj Bhavan, Modi resumed his roadshow. He got off the vehicle and walked about half-a-km near Jaidev Vihar to mingle freely with the people before arriving at Janata Maidan, the venue of the two-day national executive.