BHUBANESWAR: Buoyed by BJP’s electoral surge in Odisha in the last General Elections, Union Home Minister and former BJP chief Amit Shah on Friday said the party needs one big jump to reach the top position in Odisha. Though Shah refrained from any direct attack either on Naveen Patnaik or Biju Janata Dal during his 17-minute address, he made it amply clear that his party is focused on Odisha and made a strong pitch to people to give mandate to the saffron party in the next elections in the State.
Thanking the people of Odisha for extending support to BJP in the 2019 General Elections, he said BJD bagged 1.1 crore votes but the BJP surged to get 91 lakh votes. “The party increased its vote share from 21 per cent to 38.4 per cent. Of 37,000 booths, we were ahead in over 14,000 booths. All credit to the party workers and people of the State. One more jump and the party will be No 1,” he said to a thunderous applause by a massive turnout at CAA rally at Janata Maidan here.
He also highlighted the increased flow of Central assistance to Odisha under the Modi Government saying that the State received Rs 2.11 lakh crore during 14th Finance Commission as against just Rs 79,000 crore from 13th Finance Commission when Congress was in power. “We will leave no stone unturned for overall development of the eastern region in which Odisha will have a lion’s share. We will develop Odisha the way Gujarat was developed,” he assured. Shah who invoked Lord Jagannath said he never felt Odisha was different from Gujarat. “Rather it is like my second home because Mahaprabhu Jagannath has kept showering his blessings on both Gujarat and Odisha,” he said.
He also urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to take the Central schemes to the doorsteps of beneficiaries with right earnest and let them feel the spirit of PM Narendra Modi.
Union PNG and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said BJP will work even harder and present the vision of PM Modi as an alternative in the State. “Unlike other governments, BJP has always given priority to Odisha. The Centre released Rs 300 crore before cyclone Fani and Rs 1,000 crore after the calamity devastated the State,” he said. Former Union Minister and Sundargarh MP Jual Oram thanked the people for sending eight BJP MPs to Parliament in the last election and relegating Congress to a distant third spot. Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi said India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made tremendous progress in recent years. Eastern India, Odisha in particular, has been receiving huge funds for development after the BJP-led NDA formed Government at the Centre, she said.
Shah, Sardar Patel of present era: Sambit
Bhubaneswar: BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra on Friday called Union Home Minister Amit Shah as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel of the present era. Drawing a similarity between the two leaders at the CAA rally here, Patra said like Patel, Shah is also working hard to safeguard the integrity of the country. BJP leader and Union MSME Minster Pratap Chandra Sarangi, while welcoming Shah to the stage, also termed him as ‘Iron Man’, a sobriquet that Sardar Patel had earned.
Huge cutouts dot venue
The CAA rally at Janata Maidan being the first public meeting of Shah in the State after he became Union Home Minister, the State unit of BJP left no stone unturned to make it a grand event. Larger-than-life cutouts of Shah along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party national president JP Nadda grabbed eyeballs at the venue. Roads leading to Janata Maidan were also painted saffron with party flags and banners dotting both the sides.
The BJP had a tough time bringing party workers and the public into the venue during the CAA rally. The security checking at the entrances delayed public entry inside the ground. With some seats still vacant and Shah’s arrival drawing close, party leaders had to request police not to delay public entry.
Congress takes to streets
Bhubaneswar: The Congress on Friday held demonstration against the pro-CAA rally addressed by Shah here. Party activists burnt the effigy of the Union Home Minister at Master Canteen Square. A rally led by working president of Bhubaneswar District Congress Committee Rashmi Mohapatra was brought from the Congress Bhavan in protest. “When Delhi is burning, a pro-CAA rally has been organised by the BJP by spending crores of rupees,” she said. Meanwhile, blaming BJP for the Delhi violence, former union minister and senior Congress leader Bhakta Charan Das demanded the resignation of Shah as the Union Home Minister. Stating that Shah’s visit is meant to create support for the Centre from the State on the CAA issue, Das said, “The Centre is not focusing on the common people. Rather, it has started divide-and-rule policy which is affecting lives of common people.”
Target for party leaders
Bhubaneswar: Union Home Minister Amit Shah asked party men to work hard to strengthen BJP’s organisation in Odisha at the grassroots level. Shah ended his day’s engagements by a meeting with all the party MPs, MLAs and senior leaders here. State BJP president Sameer Mohanty told mediapersons that Shah has given a very important task to partymen at the meeting. “A roadmap was prepared for strengthening party organisation in the State. Besides, discussions were held to strengthen all the 37,000 booth level organisations of the party,” he said. Former BJP State president and Kalahandi MP Basant Panda said as a political rival, the party will not hesitate to expose the weaknesses of the State Government. Discussion were also held on how to develop Odisha in coming days, he said.