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Stand with BJP to keep democracy intact, says party’s national president Amit Shah in Mumbai

Mumbai city news: In his speech, Shah slammed the Congress and said that the BJP believed in action, achieving targets and delivering on the development agenda.

mumbai Updated: Jun 19, 2017 08:50 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
mumbai city news,bjp,bjp national president
BJP national president Amit Shah being felicitated by CM Devendra Fadnavis at Vile Parle in Mumbai on Sunday.(Satish Bate/HT)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah addressed opinion makers and citizen groups in Mumbai on Sunday. His tone kept the party’s target of ‘shat pratishat BhaJaPa’ or 100% BJP in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections intact.

Shah said his address intended to introduce BJP to the “enlightened opinion makers”. The former Gujarat home minister said that he had not come to make any political statements. “India is the world’s largest democracy and it is very important to assess the character of the party that will lead the country. Only a party that thrives on internal democracy can uphold India’s democratic ethos,” he said.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, president of Maharashtra’s BJP unit Raosaheb Danve, railway minister Suresh Prabhu, and Union minister of state (independent) for power Piyush Goyal also attended the address. Shah also praised Fadnavis for transforming Mumbai with various infrastructure projects.

In his speech, Shah slammed Congress and said that the BJP believed in action, achieving targets and delivering on the development agenda.

Attacking the Congress and other political parties over dynasty politics, Shah said, “You don’t have to be born in a particular family or belong to a caste to become the national president of the BJP. If we want to save our democracy, we have to select the party that still has its internal democracy intact.”

He reiterated that Congress party was devoid of principles and a “special purpose vehicle to attain freedom”. “The Congress was not formed on principles; people from different ideologies came together to fight for freedom. [After independence] the Congress stayed in politics just for power,” said Shah.

According to senior BJP functionaries, the meeting was organised to discuss three years of the Modi government and to highlight the achievements of the Centre and Maharashtra government. However, former central information commissioner and RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi said that the event was a rally and not a discussion between the party and opinion makers.

“I left midway as it was clearly a BJP public meeting. There were party workers in the crowd. I expected a smaller meet with about 200 people and prominent citizen groups. It should have listened to citizens’ issues — what we think, what we want from the government. If I had to listen to Amit Shah’s political speech, I could do it on YouTube anytime,” he told HT.

The BJP, however, defended the event saying that it was an effort to put out the party’s ideas and achievements. “It was not a party function. We organised it for everyone. Mumbai has a huge population, so if we want to talk to with leaders, we can’t call just 200 to 300 people. There were around 2,000 people and we sought suggestions from leaders. The response was good,” said Madhav Bhandari, Maharashtra BJP spokesperson.

First Published: Jun 19, 2017 08:49 IST