We Rule 19 States, But Indira Had 18: Emotional PM at BJP Meet
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday turned emotional as he recalled the struggle and contribution of BJP leaders in building the party in Gujarat where the saffron party notched up its sixth consecutive assembly win.
Addressing the BJP parliamentary party, Modi was seen holding back his tears, according to those present at the meeting, at least three times as he named Jana Sangh and BJP leaders, some of them now dead, who built the organisation in Gujarat, which has become a party citadel for over two decades.
It was a big achievement for the BJP to win power in the state for a sixth term with more vote share, he said, asking party leaders not to be affected by the opposition's "disinformation campaign."
The Congress has projected Gujarat results, where it won its biggest tally since 1985 polls by winning 77 seats while the BJP with 99 seats got its lowest since 1990, as a "moral victory" for itself, a claim termed as a "laughable exercise" by BJP chief Amit Shah at Wednesday's meeting.
Modi fondly recalled how former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee congratulated him in person when the party fared well in a Lok Sabha election from Gujarat, noting that he, then a relatively new entrant to the BJP from the RSS and a general secretary in charge of the state, was not widely known in the party, sources said. Modi also noted that it was Vajpayee's magnanimity to reach out to him.
Modi broke into tears as he recalled the work of Makrand Desai, Arvind Maniyar and Vasantrao Gajendragadkar among others in building the party, known as Jana Sangh in its earlier avatar, in Gujarat, the sources said.
He said they and countless other leaders and workers had made huge sacrifices as he asked party leaders to work with dedication and humility to win people's support.
Seeking the promotion of young leaders at every level in the organisation, Modi referred to his association with Shah and spoke about how he groomed the BJP president, 14 years younger to the prime minister, the sources said.
Modi called for strengthening the Bharatiya Janata Party (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 pushed for promoting the new generation for a ‘New India’ – a vision for 2022, which marks the 75th year of Indian Independence.
Booth-level work, which is the root of a poll campaign, is the mother of an election victory, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar quoted Modi as saying.
"He called for strengthening the party at its roots across the country," Kumar said.
No party in power at the Centre had done this well in elections across the country over the three years of their tenure as what the BJP had done, he said, referring to its winning streak in the Assembly elections.
By getting more than 49 percent of the votes, the BJP had received its highest share in the last many elections, including in 2012, when it won 116 seats against the 99 this time.
(With inputs from PTI)
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