Modi promises to return!

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Modi promises to return!

Sunday, 18 February 2024 | Rajesh Kumar

Modi promises to return!

Setting the target for the BJP for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said winning 370 seats would be a true tribute to its key ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee.

The Prime Minister said, “370 is not merely a number for the BJP. It symbolises a profound sentiment. Mookerjee made the ultimate sacrifice for the abrogation of Article 370 to preserve our nation’s unity and integrity. As a true tribute to him, the BJP should secure victory in 370 seats.”

Addressing BJP office-bearers at the commencement of the two-day meeting of the party’s national convention at Bharat Mandapam, Modi urged every party worker to focus on polling booths in the next 100 days, the period within which the upcoming Lok Sabha polls are likely to conclude. He stressed the need to ensure at least 370 more votes for the party at every polling station compared to the 2019 elections.

In a social media post later, Modi said, “Addressed the @BJP4India National Office Bearers. Complimented every Party Karyakarta for their exceptional efforts to serve people. Discussed ways to deepen our party’s grassroots level connect across all sections of society. Over the last decade, BJP has made a mark as a party of development and good governance. Our schemes, initiatives, and reforms have transformed several lives.”

Briefing the press on the Prime Minister’s address to the office-bearers, BJP general secretary Vinod Tawde said Prime Minister Modi has asked party members to keep in mind that the “lotus” (its poll symbol) will be its candidate at every seat it will contest and to work to ensure its victory. Tawde added that the party will launch a campaign to reach out to beneficiaries of various Central Government schemes from February 25 to March 5.

Tawde said the Prime Minister told the meeting that the Opposition will engage in “tu tu-main main” (petty squabbling), unwarranted, and divisive issues, but they must not be distracted and remain focused on their development agenda.

Tawde noted that Modi has led a government, including over 12 years as Gujarat chief minister, for nearly 23 years without facing any allegations of corruption. “It has been a period free from allegations and filled with development,” he said, quoting the Prime Minister, and added that there has been no instance of such a long tenure without anyone holding constitutional positions being tainted.

The Modi Government scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special status to the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir, in August 2019 soon after returning to power for a second time. The Lok Sabha has 543 seats, and the BJP won 282 and 303 of them in 2014 and 2019 respectively. Modi has set a target for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance to win over 400 seats.

Modi’s leadership is characterised by dedication, emotional investment, and a steadfast commitment to development, he said, adding that the entire nation today takes pride in the “transformative” policies and initiatives spearheaded by him.

Later, addressing delegates of the national convention, BJP president JP Nadda underlined the party’s meteoric rise since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office and lauded his leadership in the past decade, which has been full of new achievements for the organisation.

The Modi Government is poised to achieve a hat-trick and retain power for a third consecutive term after the Lok Sabha polls, expected in April-May, he told nearly 11,500 party delegates assembled at Bharat Mandapam here for the two-day national convention.

“We must surpass 370 seats, and the NDA must surpass 400,” he said in his inaugural address, urging party members to channel all their energy into achieving the target so that the party breaks its previous records.

Thousands of party delegates from across the country cheered as Nadda mentioned the women’s reservation law and the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, highlighting the prime minister’s tenure. In his speech, Nadda noted that before Modi’s rise in 2014, the BJP ruled only around five states, whereas it is now in power in 12 states. He added that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is currently in power in 17 states.

Nadda highlighted that the BJP retained power for a second term in Uttar Pradesh with a significant victory in 2022, broke the trend of the incumbent party being voted out in Uttarakhand, and recently won assembly elections in three States - Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan - despite many considering it improbable.

He mentioned that in West Bengal, the BJP’s vote share increased from 10 per cent and three seats to 38.5 per cent and 77 seats in the 2021 Assembly polls, asserting that the party will come to power in the State next time. Additionally, Nadda stated that the party has gained ground in many northeastern states, including Assam, for the first time, and doubled its vote share in Telangana.

“Lotus (BJP poll symbol) is everywhere. It is a pan-India party,” Nadda said, rubbishing the contention that the party’s presence has been limited in south India. It has 29 Lok Sabha and eight Rajya Sabha MPs from the region against the corresponding numbers of 28 and seven of the Congress, he said.

In the national council meetings held in the last 10 years, including the two organised in the national capital weeks before the 2014 and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the attendance had generally remained around 3,000.

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