BJP President Amit Shah Saturday asked his partymen to work towards making the southern states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala the party's strongholds one day. "BJP formed the government in Karnataka earlier. Still, we are told that BJP is not there in the south. I just say this much.... whether Telangana goes ahead, Andhra goes ahead or Kerala moves ahead... these three states have to become strongholds of BJP someday," he said.
"This competition is before Telangana people. You have to decide whether Telangana will first become (a stronghold), Andhra or Kerala," he said. Shah was speaking at an event here, where he kickstarted the party's membership drive in Telangana, a move indicating the growing importance of the state in BJP's scheme of things.
The party's membership campaign was formally launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi earlier in the day. The party is buoyed by its impressive performance in the Lok Sabha polls when it won four of the 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana.
Shah pointed out that BJP secured more than 50 percent votes in 17 states, while Congress secured not even a single seat in 17 states. He expressed confidence that the party's vote share would go up to 50 percent from 19 percent in Telangana.
Shah set a target of enrolling 18 lakh new members in Telangana in addition to the existing 18 lakh, instead of 12 lakh as planned by the state unit and said he would personally take up the drive by visiting every district if they were not able to do it. "I asked (BJP national general secretary) Muralidhar Rao...he told me they plan to add 12 lakh members to the existing 18 lakh in Telangana.
"If you (state leadership) cannot do it, then tell me. I will visit every district in Telangana and take up the membership drive. We need to strengthen BJP in Telangana and add another 18 lakh new members," said. Referring to leaders of various parties joining BJP recently, he said they comment that people from all parties are joining the saffron party.
"I would like to tell the media that there are good people in all parties and all good people will come together under the leadership of Modiji," he said. He called upon BJP workers to organize good people in the national interest.
Shah said many parties get divided after facing electoral defeats as they run "on the basis of individuals, family, and caste," but not the BJP, which has grown strong over the years as it runs on the basis of its ideology. He said that in the electoral history of the country, many parties have broken and got divided with just one failure.
The country's oldest party, Congress...there is no letter in ABCD on which there is Congress... Congress "O", Congress "U"... all ABCD. After a single defeat, Congress gets split and gets divided with one failure," he said.
He also referred to the Telegu Desam Party, saying it too was split. "Such parties cannot tolerate failure, because they run on the basis of individuals and family and caste," he said.
However, it was not so with the BJP, "which runs on the basis of ideology and is moving forward with a dream to make Bharat Mata (Mother India) 'Vishwa guru', he said. Shah said former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had once mocked the BJP for having just two members in Lok Sabha, saying they believed in "family planning".
Now the situation was such that the Congress had not even got the status of the main opposition party in Parliament, while BJP had come to power with a full majority, he said. He said the Prime Minister has directed party workers to take up a cleanliness campaign, plantation and also water conservation during the membership drive in villages.
Shah thanked the people of Telangana for giving 19 percent vote share to BJP. The Union Home Minister also paid glowing tributes to (Jan Sangh founder) Syama Prasad Mukherjee, whose birth anniversary is being celebrated Saturday, for his role in keeping Kashmir an integral part of India.
He also recalled Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's role in getting erstwhile Hyderabad state, ruled by the Nizam, merged with the Indian Union. He held a meeting with BJP's key leaders in Telangana later to prepare an action plan for strengthening the party towards forming the next government in the state.
Prior to formally launching the membership drive, the BJP President visited the home of a tribal family at nearby Mamidipalli and had some food. At the membership drive launch event, former Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, N Bhaskar Rao joined the BJP.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)