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BJP Foundation Day rally in Mumbai: Amit Shah sounds poll bugle, mocks Rahul Gandhi

BJP president Amit Shah takes on NCP and Congress, woos Dalits, CM Fadnavis and others bat for Shiv Sena at BKC rally

mumbai Updated: Apr 06, 2018 16:54 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Amit Shah,Mumbai,Mumbai traffic
(LtoR) Top BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari, Amit Shah, Devendra Fadnavis, Pankaja Munde at the rally in Mumbai on Friday.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)

Mumbai

On the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) 38th foundation day on Friday, party president Amit Shah sounded the bugle for the 2019 elections with a speech squarely targeting Rahul Gandhi and Sharad Pawar, at the party’s mega rally held at MMRDA grounds in Bandra-Kurla Complex .

The countdown to 2019 has begun, and disparate political parties and groups are trying to come together to challenge the BJP, he said. Shah called out Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his “failed attempts to point fingers at Prime Minister Modi”. “Rahul baba, the world’s view of India has changed because of PM Modi,” he said.

Referring to the BJP’s defeat in the recent Rajya Sabha by-polls, he said: “We lost two seats in by-polls, but Rahul baba should focus on the fact that Modiji has taken away 11 of his party governments.”

In an attempt to woo Dalits, the BJP top leadership reiterated that it was committed to reservations and would not let it get diluted. Chief Minister Deevendra Fadnavis, who addressed the rally a little before Shah, also promised that SC/ST reservations will not be abolished under the BJP, and that the party is fighting for it.

Shah indicated that there would be a saffron alliance, while Fadnavis made it a point to refer to Sena founder late Balasaheb Thackeray as an idol, and state revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, who started the rally, criticised Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar, who has been targeting the Sena.

While the party celebrates its foundation day every year, this mega show -- a year ahead of the polls -- was aimed at showcasing the party’s growth over the past four years. Party leaders said an estimated three lakh workers from across Maharashtra attended the rally. Around 50,000 buses, 28 special trains and jeeps were pressed into service to ferry BJP workers to the venue.

Traffic jams have been reported from several parts of the city, with slow traffic movement around BKC, Western Express Highway, Kurla and Bandra Terminus.

First Published: Apr 06, 2018 12:33 IST