BJP to score big in South, NDA will cross 400, says PM Modi

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar/Kolkata: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged the people of Odisha to give the BJP a chance to put the state on the fast track of development and fight the corrupt forces that have “ruined” the state. In West Bengal, Mr Modi intensified his attack on chief minister Mamata Banerjee over her tirade against top religious organisations like ISKON, Ramakrishna Mission and Bharat Sevashram Sangha to appease her vote bank in the Lok Sabha election.

Meanwhile, in an interview to the Press Trust of India, Mr Modi asserted that the BJP will emerge as the single-largest party in South India and said that the assessment of the last four phases of the elections showed that the NDA was in the “pole position” and that the Congress along with its INDIA alliance partners was struggling to even open its account in some states. He also said that his government had made a “solemn promise” for restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood and would stand by it, and the Centre was working very hard to create the right conditions.

Addressing election rallies in Angul and Cuttack in Odisha, Mr Modi said the Congress had ruled the state for 50 years and the BJD has been in power in the state for 25 years now. However, the state has not seen any significant development all these years.

“The people of Odisha have reposed faith in the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government for 25 years now. All Odias are now introspecting what they have achieved during this period. Today, farmers here are worried; youths are migrating to other states in search of small jobs. It is also unfortunate that the tribal areas, which have an abundance of natural resources, have also been equally neglected,” he said.

The Prime Minister said he felt “deeply hurt” that despite being a rich and prosperous state, the people of Odisha were forced to lead their life in deprivation.

Mr Modi claimed that the people’s enthusiasm seen in all his poll rallies indicated that Odisha will have a “double-engine” government. “In Odisha, there is one slogan renting the air. The slogan ‘Pehli Baar Double-Engine Sarkar’ has caught the imagination of the people,” he claimed.

In both public meetings, Mr Modi sought to strike a chord with the people of Odisha by greeting them in Odia, accepting paintings, and lauding the art and culture of the state. He said that along with the pictures and other items, people bring immense love and blessings, which are his strength.

Mr Modi urged people to vote the BJP to power, saying the party will make an Odia son or daughter its chief minister. “I again invite you all to the oath-taking ceremony of the double-engine government on June 10,” he said.

In West Bengal, the Prime Minister sharpened his attack on the Trinamul Congress supremo on Monday, addressing a BJP campaign rally physically in Jhargram and virtually at Haldia in East Midnapore, where he could not reach by helicopter due to bad weather in the afternoon.

He claimed in a mood of anguish: “It has been learnt that an ashram of the Ramakrishna Mission was vandalised in Jalpaiguri on Sunday night. The staff working there were beaten up. They were threatened also. Where is the TMC government taking Bengal to? Have the citizens of our country ever thought that threats would be given to the Ramakrishna Mission and its ashram would be ransacked?”

Mr Modi also pointed out: “But the TMC government is crossing limits to appease its vote bank. Bengal will never tolerate the insult of Ramakrishna Mission and its monks.” He then reminded the TMC about his close relations with this particular organisation.

Mr Modi further highlighted the infiltration issue under the TMC rule, observing: “The TMC only worries about its votebank. It invites infiltrators and arranges places for them to live. The Bengali population is on the decline in the border areas of the state. Whose land the infiltrators grab after entry here? They take control of the land of people belonging to the SC, ST and OBC categories. The TMC and Congress want to legalise the infiltrators’ control.”

Mr Modi wondered: “The Congress is talking about conducting a probe into the properties of all. They will give away your land and assets to vote-jihad. Will you allow your rights to be snatched by someone else?”

In an interview to PTI on Sunday night, Mr Modi said: “Our strategy for the entire nation is the same. Phir ek baar Modi Sarkar. Aur chaar June 400 paar.”

Mentioning that his opponents have created a myth that the BJP has no strength or presence in the southern states, Mr Modi said: “Look at 2019 elections. The largest party even then in the South was the BJP. Again, I say this: the largest party in the South this time will be the BJP, and its allies will add more (seats) to it.”

“We will be the single largest party in Southern India and by an even bigger margin than the last time. We have seen a jump in mind-share already. We will see a big jump in seat share and vote share for us across the region,” he said.

Southern India accounts for 131 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats. In the outgoing House, the BJP has 29 members besides one Independent backed by it, from Karnataka. Even in eastern India, “we are witnessing a massive surge of support from the people… which is giving sleepless nights to people in sections of the media and politics in Bhubaneswar, Kolkata and even in Delhi,” Mr Modi said.

Talking about J&K, he said: “The restoration of statehood is a solemn promise we have made and we stand by it. We are working very hard to create the right conditions so that it can be done expeditiously.”

“Through the abrogation of Article 370, we today have witnessed not just the dreams and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir coming into fruition but also their enthusiasm for participating in one of the biggest festivals in any democracy -- elections,” Mr Modi said.

On holding Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the PM said the Supreme Court has set a date for Assembly polls in the region and the Election Commission was mandated to follow the directions of the highest court. He said it was the best organisation to assess when and how it will conduct the Assembly elections.

The PM also hit out at the Congress for “orchestrating endorsements” from Pakistani leaders for electoral gains and said the Opposition party often let the national interest suffer when it came to dealing with Pakistan. “Well, politicians from Pakistan are entering the electoral discourse of India by endorsing the Congress Party’s ‘Shehzada’,” Mr Modi said in response to a question on Pakistani leaders commenting on elections in India.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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