Berhampur: BJP president Amit Shah today said his party was going strong in Odisha and it will form the government after the 2019 Assembly election with an absolute majority.
Addressing a series of party meetings in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s home turf Ganjam, Shah said his party’s popularity in Odisha was growing fast as the state remained “backward and poor”, despite the “substantial” assistance from the NDA government at the Centre.
“People will bring about a change. It is not merely for a change of government, ministers or MLAs. Change is needed to alter the system of administration and to steer the state on the path of development,” the BJP chief said.
The BJP president, who chose Ganjam district to launch his three-day campaign in Odisha to bolster the saffron party’s base in the eastern state, attended booth level programmes at Hugulapeta and other places.
He also addressed members of party booth committees of Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhamal at Berhampur.
Affirming the Narendra Modi government’s commitment to Odisha’s development, Shah said the volume of Centre’s assistance to the state had registered a “steep increase” in the three years of the NDA rule.
However, the benefits of the assistance were not reaching the people due to the state government’s “failure to perform”, he said.
The people of Odisha are yet to get electricity and drinking water even after 17 years of BJD rule, the BJP chief said.
Unemployment among the educated in the state is growing alarmingly, while toilets are still a “distant dream” for the people in the villages, Shah said.
Only 22 per cent households in the state have toilet facilities, while 35 per cent families are yet to get electricity, the BJP president said.
Around 46 per cent families in the state are still languishing below the below poverty line (BPL) and 35 per cent posts of doctors are lying vacant, he said.
Odisha, Shah said, continued to be “poor and devoid of development”, despite being endowed with rich minerals, natural resources and a long coastline.
“It is a paradox that the people of a rich state continue to be poor,” he said.
The youth of the state had to work elsewhere and contribute to the progress of other states due to “lack of opportunities at home”.
Claiming that if BJP was voted to power, Odisha would be “transformed into advanced states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where the saaffron party is in power”, Shah said unemployment and poverty would disappear from the state.
He said he had been an “active” BJP worker for 35 years and thus, was aware of the “ground realities” in Odisha. He said he was “confident” of the party’s victory in the next Assembly election in 2019.
People of states like Maharastra, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur have changed governments when polls were held after Narendra Modi became prime minister.
“We are confident of changing government in Odisha in 2019 elections,” Shah said.
He said development was going on in full pace in BJP- ruled states which are properly implementing the schemes funded by the Centre.
The BJP chief said he had been visiting Odisha at frequent intervals and could clearly see that the love and affection of the people of the state towards his party had been “growing consistently”.
“We will not rest until a BJP chief minister takes oath in Odisha. We will win the 2019 Assembly election with a two-thirds majority and form the government here,” he said.
Booth committees would be formed in all the 36,000 polling booths of the state “in a time-bound manner” to strengthen the party base at the grassroot-level.
The BJP chief also attacked Congress saying the previous UPA regime had provided only Rs 68,119 crore to Odisha as grant in the 13 Finance Commission, while Modi government provided Rs 1.84 lakh crore to the state for various schemes.
During his day long visit to the district, the BJP president addressed booth committee members at Hugulapeta under Kukudakhandi block and had lunch in the house of Naveen Swain. Shah also held road shows in Berhampur town