At the concluding day of the two-day Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national convention here, party chief Amit Shah implored party workers, saying they should not allow their morale to fall because of the recent losses in the Assembly polls in the Hindi heartland.
Shah asked workers to take the message of the Modi government’s 13 core programmes to the people, and contact the 220 million beneficiaries of the government’s schemes. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had received 170 million votes.
Shah, in a reference to the BJP’s healthy vote share in at least Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, said the party’s rivals might have won but it had not lost its ground. A political resolution passed by the council noted with “mixed feelings” the results, avowing to “draw the right lessons” from the defeats.
“There is an opportunity in 2019 and the workers should move forward with an aim to lay the foundation for a strong government through these states,” Shah said while addressing over 12,000 BJP leaders from across the country.
The BJP chief asked party workers to ensure that their family members and friends cast their respective votes by 10.30 am on polling day. “No alliance will defeat us as we go to the election with the blessings of these 220 million beneficiaries,” he said.
Speaking at the event, finance minister Arun Jaitley accused the Congress and other opposition parties of building a false narrative against the BJP, based on lies. “They cannot compete with the BJP on leadership, performance or ideology. So, they say they will try to fight us through alliances,” Jaitley said. The finance minister said if the people accept Modi as their Prime Minister, then all the arithmetic of the alliance will fail and chemistry at the ground level will bring Modi back. “Last time, we got 282 seats. We will cross that mark this time,” he said. “If each worker decides that the election would be fought on the issue of leadership, no force in the world can defeat us,” Jaitley said.
BJP’s political resolution
A political resolution the national council passed stated that Modi’s tenure is “a story of transformation and comprehensive development of India.” During his tenure, it said, India has turned into a “major global power” and Modi is “acknowledged as a global leader”. The resolution said the poor have been at the “centre of development” during the Modi government’s tenure.
The resolution, aimed primarily at giving party workers talking points to spread among the electorate, detailed the steps taken by the Modi government for the welfare of the poor. The statement said India’s growth story under Modi has certain defined goals of banking the unbanked, funding the unfunded, securing the unsecured and pensioning the un-pensioned.
It listed Jan Dhan and other schemes for the welfare of the poor. On employment generation, the statement said banks under the Mudra scheme have disbursed Rs 7.29 trillion worth of loans to 153 million people. It said 74 per cent of the beneficiaries are women, Dalits and tribal entrepreneurs, and 50 per cent “have taken loans for the first time.”
“This by itself created employment opportunities for crores of Indians,” it said. The BJP said common service centres in rural areas have increased from 83,000 to 300,000. This has “developed 300,000 village-level digital entrepreneurs who have created employment opportunities.”
The BJP said the speed of infrastructure creation, such as road construction, has doubled. It said the Modi government kept inflation below 5 per cent and fiscal budget within the budgetary target of 3.3 per cent.
“Bold moves, like demonetisation, has hit the age-old problem of parallel economy and domestic black money,” the statement noted.
The resolution stated the Congress-led UPA government indulged in indiscriminate lending. It said banks, between 1947 and 2008, disbursed loans worth Rs 18 trillion while lending by banks increased to Rs 54 trillion from 2008 to 2014. It added “phone banking” flourished during the UPA, with banks giving loans to industrialists under political pressure. It said the Modi government has recapitalised banks, enacted the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and recovered nearly Rs 3 trillion in the last two years.
The resolution said the choice with the people of India was between “stability and instability, between an honest and courageous leader, and a leaderless opportunistic alliance.” It also appealed to “the people of India and the millennial voters, who would vote for the first time, to participate in the coming elections with full enthusiasm and support the vision of Prime Minister Modi to make India a great country.”