This man has been travelling relentlessly to ensure that the lotus continues to bloom across the length and breadth of India. His constant ground-level work which has spanned each state and union territory of the country has surely borne fruit, as BJP now holds governance in 17 states across the country.
On a similar gruelling journey through the villages of Odisha, where BJP has begun making successful inroads, we caught up with the man of the moment- Amit Shah, President of the Bharatiya Janata Party- to hear him speak of the present and future of our nation- which, for now, seems to be firmly in the hands of the lotus party.
The BJP has ensured stupendous victories in both 2014 LokSabha elections and in other state polls; now, what is the prime reason behind the vigorous" Vistaar" campaign that is being undertaken?
Bharatiya Janata Party is an exceptional political party- our work is guided by our ideology and we have a defined organisational structure. This is why we have now come up with our 'reach out program' to strengthen our organisational structure by reaching out to people and party workers in each nook and corner of the country. I am travelling for 110 days which include 95 days of Vistrit Pravas and 15 days on Vistarak Pravas. Vistrit Pravas is focused on strengthening the party organization at all levels while Vistarak Pravas entails Booth level outreach. Like me, four lakh party karyakartas have volunteered to work as full time Vistaraks.
In 2014, in many states we had a limited base, such as, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telengana, Andhra Pradesh, as well as the eastern and north-eastern part of India. We are working hard to expand our ideology of inclusive development and I believe we will achieve success very soon.
If we talk about unconquered states, you have successfully formed governments in Assam and Manipur, and now BJP has set its eyes upon other eastern states. You are also campaigning in Odisha, what are the issues you are going to project for the upcoming polls in the state?
The incumbent Naveen Patnaikji's BJD government has failed to provide basic amenities, such as- 24*7 power, pure drinking water, etc. to the people of the state. There is a deficit in the overall growth of the state. Based on this, I am certain people will choose BJP and vote for Modiji's mantra of growth and development.
I have travelled with you for three days in the state of Odisha, you have been welcomed with grandeur and pomp. Tell us, how far are you now from the 2/3rd majority target that you had set?
Nothing is easy, public is welcoming and supporting because they have seen Prime Minister Narendra Modi's successful governance. After getting such support from the people of Odisha, now I feel that we will win more that 120 seats in 2019 for sure. Of course, the BJP state unit is also working very hard to ensure success.
Apart from 24*7 power and pure drinking water for all, Odisha's association in chit fund forgery also featured in news reports- after West Bengal and Assam. Are you going to bring this issue to the forefront?
It is indeed a major issue, and even earlier we had demanded for a detailed investigation. We want proper punishment to be meted out to the guilty. Our state unit is also working forward to ensure this.
On one hand, you are fighting with Biju Janata Dal in Odisha; at the same time the party chief and Chief Minister of the state has extended his support to the BJP on several issues of significance at the centre. Isn't there a contradiction for you as you balance both central and state politics?
Not only BJD, many regional parties have supported us on many issues at the centre despite our political differences - only for the sake of the country. We welcome this.
When we are talking about Narendra Modi's successful governance, we must talk about Kashmir. People have great hope from him regarding the ongoing Kashmir unrest. Even after one year of BurhanWani's killing, the valley is burning. How long will it take to restore normalcy in our paradise?
Since, 1989 there have been many disturbing incidents that have been reported from the Kashmir Valley. This has proved that nobody could control the situation there in the past.. However, this time our security forces have been working hard to control the ground reality, and they have done a good job. I believe that, very soon the situation in the valley will be under control.
Is your party satisfied with Mehbooba Mufti's governance in the state?
In the current situation the PDP-BJP government is doing well.
If we talk about cross-border violence, and media reports over Pakistan's alleged involvement in stone pelting incidents in the valley- do you feel that despite the surgical strike, the neighbouring country is yet to learn its lesson?
In the last three years, Modiji has been successful in his foreign diplomacy. He has been able to reach out and bring together the different nations who stand against terrorism, in one platform. India has even been able to isolate Pakistan from the global platform. Also, we must understand that this is a long process.
With Prime Minister Modi's recent visit to Israel- India could probably learn from how Israel has given priority to its nation. How would you analyse this trip?
Firstly, after 70 years of independence, this is for the first time that any Indian Prime Minister has visited Israel. The trip also holds significance from India's perspective of development, as this opens avenues for our nation to receive vast assistance in defence, agriculture, water preservation and technological enhancement.
To speak of the recent and upcoming events in India, there is talk about historical tax reformation by this NDA government. Do you feel that after demonetisation, the move to roll out GST will also hold political significance for BJP?
Indeed! People have accepted the 'One Nation, One Tax' system with happiness, whether an industrialist, or the common man, whether a big supplier or a small trader, everyone has wholeheartedly supported GST. They are also receiving benefits from this move. Moving aside all wrong information regarding the new tax regime, it will indeed show India a new way.
When we talk about the upcoming Presidential polls, oppositions allege the incumbent NDA for playing the caste card, as their candidate Meira Kumar talks about an ideological war. How do you see it?
We have filed Ram Nath Kovind's name based entirely on his capability. But, they had initially considered Gopal Krishna Gandhi's name, and later replaced him with Meira Kumar. Now I think it's clear that who is playing caste politics, you must go and ask this question to opposition leaders.
In the recent times, the opposition parties made a scathing attack on the BJP government for deliberate EVM manipulation. How do you view these allegations?
Manipulation can't occur in elections. The public votes for good governance and development. When you win, then the EVM works in a proper way, when you get defeated, then the EVMs get manipulated. AAP, who has been making this claim, their government was also formed in Delhi during our regime. But now, all of a sudden, EVMs are getting manipulated? I think people of the country can see the truth.
After the series of victories in various elections across various corners of the country, does the BJP feel more challenged to maintain their track record for the upcoming elections too?
I don't see it as a challenge instead we are focusing on spreading our ideology and strengthening the organisation. Learning from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur, the same will be replicated in future elections. In addition we are constantly working on converting the popularity of PM Modi and the good work of his government into political capital for the BJP.
In your view what are the highlights of three year rule of Modi Government at the centre?
First of all, Modi government has changed the scale of governance; we are doing what no one even thought of in 70 years, such as giving LPG to 5 crore poor women, constructing 4 crore toilets, electrifying 14000 villages, linking poor with country's economy by opening Jandhan accounts and opening new employment opportunity for crores through Mudra etc.
Modi government has launched more than 100 programs for the poor, middle class, farmers, youth, and business community. There is not a single case of corruption against the Modi government while corrupt are running for cover. We are the fastest growing economy of the world and we have ensured that both agriculture and industrial growth turn to positive. Still we have a long way to go but the way PM Modi is working and getting support from the people of India, our dream of Sashakt and Samriddh Bharat is not very far.
THE SHAH TRAVELOGUE
Total distance travelled: 5,59,505km
Average travelling (per month): 15,986km
Average travelling (per day): 535 km
No. of out-station tours: 303
No. of districts visited: 315 (out of 680)
No. of Programs/Rallies held: 536
Total Organisational Meetings: 590
Jansamvaad (Public Redressal system)
Amit Shah meets the common citizens along with the rank and file of the party on every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, if he is in Delhi. This initiative has been very successful in connecting with the people and crowdsourcing ideas.
Total Jansamvaad: 28
No. of people personally met: 12536
SOME IMPORTANT INITIATIVES:
VISTRIT PRAVAS: The thrust of the Pravas is to expand party organization till the booth level; for this 12 central organization's office bearers have been assigned the task of regularly visiting every state. Amit Shah himself has embarked upon 95 – days tours covering all states and UTs to directly connect with the rank files of the party.
REGIONAL MEETINGS: The entire country has been divided into seven zones. Each Zone is expected to hold at least one meeting every year where public representatives and office bearers brain storm for expansion of the party.
PUBLICATION AND PARTY MAGAZINES: BJP at the moment has about 22 magazines which include- central party's Kamal Sandesh and magazines from different states. At this point the total circulation of these magazines is 8 lakh which will be increased by three folds in the near future.
LIBRARY, E-LIBRARY AND DOCUMENTATION: Mr. Shah has been pushing the idea of imbibing reading habits amongst party office bearers and workers. A special department has been created to ensure that party offices till the district level have a library as well as a functioning documentation department.
TRAINING: Training of party workers is considered to be of prime importance in the BJP. So far, 10 lakh workers have undergone training in 7500 training camps, focusing on party ideology and public conduct.
CHIEF MINISTER SUMMIT: To take forward the party's agenda of "SabkaSaathSabkaVikas," all party chief ministers are expected to work on a common agenda for the upliftment of the poor. A committee of three CMs and one National Vice President has been formed to work on 'Poverty Welfare.'