BJP sets target of over 21 LS seats from NE in 2019 polls

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, March 24: Outlining Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s plan for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, BJP chief Amit Shah on Saturday claimed that the saffron party would win at least 21 out of 25 seats in Northeast in forthcoming polls.

Addressing a meeting of 25,849 BJP booth presidents, 303 block presidents and other party workers in Guwahati, Shah asked the party members to work towards achieving this target. “I want to give a target for 2019 polls. We want to win more than 21 seats out of 25 seats from Northeast,” Shah said.

“Except Mizoram, all other states in NE are ruled by NEDA (North-East Democratic Alliance) constituents. So all of you need to take it forward,” Shah said.

The BJP needs to win maximum number of seats from Northeast to strengthen Prime Minister Narendra Modi so that development of the region continues.

Shah also urged workers of the party to strengthen the party at grass root level and said, “I used to be a booth president too. BJP is the only party where a person can make it to the top from the grassroots, and this is why we need to strengthen our base,” Shah said.

Shah cited BJP’s victory in Tripura to underline why the party needs to empower booth presidents to win every election from panchayat to Parliament. “The way NEDA (North East Development Alliance) has expanded, we have set our sights on winning at least 21 seats besides doing well in the panchayat polls,” Shah further said.

He asked the Assam Pradesh BJP to expand the network and appoint ‘Page Pramukh’ or in-charge of each page of the electoral list. The BJP chief also started the process of appointing 3.33 lakh ‘page in-charge’ within the next six months. The job of a page in-charge is to interact regularly with people listed in pages of the electoral rolls assigned to him or her.

He hit out at the Opposition, specifically the Congress, saying they have been unable to digest the march of the BJP and allies in states such as Maharashtra, Assam, Manipur, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Tripura after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. “This is the reason why they have not allowed even a minute of work in the Parliament for the past 20 days,” Shah said, adding that the government was ready to face no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha.

Assam was the fourth developed state in India after Independence but it was fourth from the bottom when Sarbananda Sonowal became the chief minister in 2016, he claimed. “Congress’ policy is divide and rule, while it is ‘sabka saath sabka vikaas’ for BJP. During 2014 campaign, Modiji had promised to develop northeast like the western part of India. Four years have gone and see the progress of the region done by him,” he said.

He claimed that Assam had received Rs 79,741 crore from the 13th Finance Commission during the UPA tenure which soared to Rs 1,55,292 crore in 14th Finance Commission during the Modi government.

Without naming former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Shah criticised him for allegedly not doing anything significant for the region despite being elected to the Rajya Sabha from Assam twice.

The BJP chief also listed a series of schemes and financial benefits provided to Assam and the other northeastern states during the NDA regime in the last four years. “(With) the stand India has taken on Doklam issue under Prime Minister Modi, a message has been sent to the entire world. He has also solved the border dispute with Bangladesh, helping the (northeast) region to prosper,” the BJP chief claimed.

He also highlighted the Assam government’s thrust to make the state free from corruption, terrorism, foreigners and pollution. “The insurgent groups of the region are surrendering one after another and development is on. The way NRC update is going on, the foreigner issue will also be resolved soon,” Shah added.

Shah also had a meeting with ministers and MLAs of the party, members of the BJP’s core committee and leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Assam. (With PTI input)

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