NEW DELHI: After the BJP’s strong showing in the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections, nearly 400 NDA Members of Parliament squeezed into Race Course Road for high tea with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday. He asked them to vigorously pilot and preach government schemes.
As part of Modi’s Diwali Milan, he had invited 400 parliamentarians from both Houses for the first such meeting after the NDA came to power. At the Milan, four ministers made presentations on the major schemes during a two-hour session, though obviously the Prime Minister’s words were the most important.
In the first row, L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were seated along with Cabinet ministers Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari.
All Shiv Sena Members of Parliament, including Union Heavy Industries Minister Anant Geete, were present, even as there was uncertainty over whether the BJP and Sena will get together to form a government in Maharashtra.
Modi advocated his pet scheme of Clean India, which he pointed out had received tremendous response from all over the country. The PM said that Swachh Bharat would be an ideal platform for the NDA MPs to “connect with people”.
Modi urged the parliamentarians to visit schools in their areas over a five-day period beginning November 14 — the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, and explain to children the importance of hygiene. “This would send a positive message,” he said.
In fact, the main theme of Modi’s speech seemed to be for the parliamentarians to latch on to schemes which have a more universal appeal.
“Let us think big. Let us think far. Let us think above politics,” Modi said, describing the NDA MPs as a “force of tremendous positive energy, who could help chart a new course for the country”. He admitted that Swachh Bharat is tough, but pointed out that just as India achieved zero polio status, the objectives of the ambitious scheme were also achievable. He also urged MPs to preach about the work done by the NDA government for the welfare of the poor.
Besides Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and former president Advani also spoke.
Modi felicitated Shah with a special shawl to mark the party’s victory in Haryana and Maharashtra.
Advani said this “Diwali was the best I had ever witnessed, as the party had risen to unprecedented heights.”
The presentations were made by Union Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, and coal, gas pricing and diesel deregulation. Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari spoke about the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana and Labour Minister Narendra Singh Tomar briefed the MPs on the various initiatives taken under the Shramev Jayate Karyakram.