Setting the tone for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday told a Bharatiya Janata Party Parliamentary Party meeting he will not take rest nor will let others while party chief Amit Shah asked leaders to prepare for the next challenge ahead.
Fresh from BJP’s recent electoral triumphs, Modi unveiled a slew of programmes for important events ahead, including over a week-long exercise between the party’s foundation day on April 6 and Bhim Rao Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on April 14, and urged leaders to make youths ‘ambassadors’ of his government’s works.
The first BJP Parliamentary Party meeting after the party’s landslide victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and heading a government in Goa and Manipur was an occasion for celebration, thanksgiving and mapping out the path ahead for the party after Modi entered the venue to a standing ovation.
As he asked them to take up various programmes, including spending 72 hours to reach out to people when his government completes three years on May 26, he said, ‘na baithunga na baithne dunga (Neither will I rest nor will let you)’.
Keeping up with its outreach to Dalits, a substantial chunk of whom is believed to have voted for the BJP in the UP polls, the party has decided to launch week-long events leading to Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on April 14, Union Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters after the meeting.
The party will observe the week-long exercise in every panchayat and ward. It will also celebrate its foundation day on April 6 during which its leaders and workers will take part in ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign.
Modi asked party leaders to work during the week to give a boost to the use of BHIM app, a digital payment application, by educating the masses about it and helping them download it.
He said the app can liberate small traders from clutches of money lenders and can be a tool of social transformation. Those using it most will also be incentivised, he said.
Leaders were also asked to publicise Ambedkar’s works and contributions.
Asking them to make youths ‘ambassadors’ of the Union government’s public welfare works and good governance, Modi said youngsters depend on mobile phones more than newspapers and TV channels to get information.
He stressed on the need to use mobiles’ communication to tap them. He also asked the party leaders to contact them while they are in Class XII, Kumar said.
Modi asked parliamentarians to submit their suggestions ahead of his government’s third anniversary on May 26. Calling polling booths power centres, he said everybody, from ministers to others, should visit them.
Shah said the party's win in the recently concluded assembly polls was an outcome of people’s vote against casteism, family rule and corruption and in favour of Modi’s leadership under which public welfare and good governance is the agenda.
The massive vote for the BJP has broken the shackles of the politics of caste, family rule and appeasement, he said.
Noting that the five state elections were cited as the BJP’s biggest electoral challenge following 2014 Lok Sabha polls victory, he asserted that the next parliamentary elections in 2019 is the next big challenge and asked the party leaders to make preparations for it.
He asked them to not sit complacent. “The next target is 2019,” he said.
The BJP’s win underlined people's support for the welfare schemes launched by the central government and a brave decision like demonetisation, Shah claimed.
The BJP Parliamentary Party also passed a resolution thanking voters for their support and also party’s workers for their efforts under the leadership of Modi and Shah.
It also expressed hope that the BJP governments in these states will provide good governance and run public welfare programmes.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh proposed the resolution and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley supported it, which was passed unanimously, Kumar said.
The party leaders also distributed prasad of the popular Tirupati temple.
IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi being greeted by BJP president Amit Shah as Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other members look on during the BJP Parliamentary party meeting at Parliament in New Delhi on Thursday. Photograph: Vijay Verma/PTI Photo