Amit Shah targets opposition for questioning EVMs, says BJP yet to peak
Setting a new target for party leaders and workers, Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah said on Saturday that despite being in power at the centre and in 13 states, the party is yet to achieve its peak and urged them to devote themselves to the cause.
Shah also hit out at opposition parties for questioning EVMs and said that blaming EVMs is disrespecting the Election Commission.
Shah's remarks came here at the inaugural address of the two-day National Executive of BJP, being held at Bhubaneswar after a gap of 20 years.
"Many (people) declared after the 2014 general elections that the BJP reached its peak, but it was not so. They then said in 2017 (after elections to the five states, including Uttar Pradesh) that the BJP has now attained it peak, but it is not the case," Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad quoted Amit Shah as saying at the inaugural session .
"But the BJP is yet to be at its peak. The BJP will attain its peak when BJP will have Chief Ministers in all the states and it has members everywhere -- from panchayats to Parliament," Shah added, according to Prasad.
"Let's resolve to make BJP a pan-India party from panchayats to Parliament. BJP's golden period should be associated with country's golden period," Shah said.
Noting that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will complete three years in office on May 26 and had worked hard during this period, he said: "... we have done work which other governments would do in two-three terms."
The BJP Chief also said that earlier there was a perception that BJP was doing well only where there was Congress and not against the regional parties, but the recent election results of Uttar Pradesh has proved this perception wrong.
Targeting the opposition for questioning EVMs, Shah said despite making excuses these parties should have honestly introspected the reasons.
"It was expected from the defeated parties that after their defeat, these parties should have honestly accepted it but they began making excuses. Among the excuses EVMs are being discussed.
"Such talks are not only about accepting defeat honestly but to dishonour the Election Commission," he said.
In a sarcastic attack, Shah said that when United Progressive Alliance won the 2004 and 2009 general elections or the Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party won the Uttar Pradesh elections in 2007 and 2012, then there was no problem, but now all of sudden questions are being raised about EVMs.
The BJP also challenged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to accept the open challenege of Election Commission to hack EVMs.
"The EC has publicly asked to hack EVMs. Why don't he (Kejriwal) and hack it. He is an IIT graduate. An experienced hacker is Chief Minister of a state," Prasad told reporters in response to a query.
Urging party workers "not to be lethargic" after stunning victories in recently-concluded assembly polls, Prasad also said that the BJP chief would tour, for 95 days, different parts of the country till September.
"Shah will extensively tour the country till September. During this tour Shah will spend three days in Kerala also," he said.
Enthused by its resounding victory in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP seems quite confident that it would come to power in Odisha, where it has never been in a commanding position despite being an ally of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for nine years.
The BJP hoped that it would be able to build its prospects in the state in the wake of the anti-incumbency tide against the Naveen Patnaik government, which has been in power since the last 17 years.
Shah has given a clear signal in the executive meeting that the party would work relentlessly to grab the eastern state in the 2019 elections.
"The people in Odisha want change from the incumbent government, which is in power since 2000. The Naveen Patnaik government has failed to provide basic amenities to the people in the state," he said.
The party has been encouraged by its performance in the recently-concluded panchayat polls, where it emerged second, relegating the Congress to the third position.
The first day of the two-day meet was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 13 Chief Ministers including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who was given a grand welcome.
The Prime Minister, earlier, held a roadshow in the state capital ahead of the meeting.
A huge crowd gathered on both sides of the road to catch a glimpse of Modi. BJP supporters raised slogans of 'Modi-Modi' and 'Vande Mataram' and some showered flowers on the Prime Minister.