At the end of campaigning for the final phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, making an appearance but taking no questions at a press conference held by BJP chief Amit Shah on Friday, expressed confidence that the BJP would come back to power with a majority of its own.
Turning up unexpectedly at the scheduled press conference addressed by Mr. Shah, Mr. Modi made the opening remarks but consistently redirected questions at him to the BJP chief, stating that he was a “disciplined soldier of the party” and “the party president was everything to us”.
He was directly asked about whether or not he would be welcoming Pragya Thakur, the party’s Bhopal candidate to Parliament if she won on May 23, despite Mr. Modi’s own declaration that he “would never forgive her” for her laudatory remarks about Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse.
Mr. Shah, answering for the Prime Minister said her remarks were deplorable, did not reflect the party’s view and that disciplinary action was being taken against her and other leaders of the party who had made such comments. He clarified however that the party did not regret giving Ms. Thakur the ticket from Bhopal, as it was a stand against the “Hindu terror tag.”
Mr. Modi described the long campaign, during which he addressed 142 rallies across the length and breadth of the country as a “thanksgiving exercise” to the people, who he said would be, after many years, voting back a government that had enjoyed a full majority.
“The election has been amazing (shandaar). It was held in a positive spirit. A government with full majority will come back after remaining in power for five years. This is probably happening after a very long time. This is a big deal in itself,” he said. He said there was a time when the Indian Premier League (IPL) had to be shifted out of India due to polls, but under the current government, elections could be held even when Ramzan was being observed and Easter commemorated, Ram Navmi celebrated and board exams held.
“I believe some things we can proudly say to the world. This is the world’s largest democracy, it is our responsibility to take the power of this democracy to the world. We should impress the world with the diversity of the democracy,” he said.
“We ensured last-mile delivery, which was a new structure of governance. Our government will take up its responsibility as soon as possible,” he added. According to him, the journey for an honest government started on May 17, 2014, five years ago, and a day after Lok Sabha election results were announced. “Election results came on May 16, 2014 and a huge casualty took place on May 17, 2014. Today is also May 17. People in ‘Satta bazaar’ who bet for Congress to get 150 seats and for the BJP to get only around 206-10 in elections faced huge losses on May 17,” he added.
Mr. Shah gave a report card of sorts on not just the achievements of the Modi government but also the effort made by the party organisation to mount the campaign for 2019. “We started our exercise on January 16th and held over 150 booth and cluster meetings. There were 29 Lok Sabha committees that oversaw 482 sub committees, which held over 4030 meetings to go over the details of the campaign. In 120 seats never won by the BJP, across 13 States, 3000 full-time workers worked for over three years,” he said.
“We set up 161 call centres with 15,682 callers who reached out to the 24.81 crore beneficiaries of the various programmes run by the Modi government,” he said. To another question, directed at Mr. Modi and redirected to Mr. Shah, the latter said the Opposition’s efforts at meeting up before the results to explore the possibilities of government formation were a redundant exercise. “The NDA will form the next government with a comfortable majority,” said Mr. Shah.
(Courtesy: The Hindu)