BJP rules in 19 States: PM

Emphasising the continued ascendancy of the BJP, an emotional Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the saffron party was now in power in 19 states, one more than the Congress at its peak under former PM Indira Gandhi.

The PM while addressing MPs at the parliamentary party meeting also recalled the sacrifices of leaders who built the party over the years and exuded confidence that the BJP would win more state polls in the days to come.

Congress under Indira Gandhi ruled in 18 states but the BJP and its allies have gained power in 19 states in the past three-and-a-half years. Soon, we shall win other state polls too,” Modi said.

A senior leader, who was present in the meeting, said Narendra Modi’s reference to Congress under Indira was noteworthy as the BJP was not only pitted against Congress but a host of regional parties which were strong forces in states. Modi turned emotional as he recounted his long association with party president Amit Shah, 14 years his junior. He said he groomed a young Shah into a national leader as he laid stress on giving opportunities to younger leaders in the party organisation.

Shah, who addressed party MPs before Modi, mentioned the hard work put in by the PM for the Gujarat and Himachal assembly polls. “Modiji used to call at 2 am followed by calls at 6 am too. I could not understand when he managed to sleep,” Shah said.

The PM called for strengthening the BJP “at its roots” for a win in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and also pitched for promoting young faces inside and outside the party. Modi’s emphasis on young leaders is seen as a reference to the perception that there has been a leadership vacuum in Gujarat since his departure.

Sharing his anguish at the opposition’s “personalised” campaign against him, the PM asked party MPs not be affected by the “disinformation” campaign and stay focused on serving the people.

This was the first parliamentary party meeting after the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh results and Modi shared how the BJP won Gujarat for a sixth time in a row after being a fringe party for decades. The PM said it was not easy for the BJP in Gujarat as several prominent leaders had left but expansion continued.

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