Now, BJP to focus on states crucial for fortunes in 2019
The city of Bhubaneswar is decked up for Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) conclave with hoardings having posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with his trusted lieutenant and BJP president Amit Shah. About 300 plus BJP functionaries, including PM Modi and party chief, will be meeting in Odisha's capital for a two-day brainstorming session on the party's "Mission 2019".
The BJP national executive meeting is scheduled to begin on Saturday at Janata Maidan, wherein the efforts of party workers would be hailed for winning recent assembly elections. The emphatic victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand would be showcased to motive the workers of Odisha for taking on ruling party in the state –Biju Janata Dal (BJD), a former ally of NDA. As all Cabinet ministers, Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states would mark their attendance at the meet, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to skip the meet on health grounds.
"Sushmaji will not be able to attend the national executive meeting on health grounds. She has been advised rest by doctors," said Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, who has been tasked to organise this mega show.
"Swaraj's presence and guidance would be felt at the meet. Union ministers, chief ministers of 13 BJP-ruled states and three deputy chief ministers will attend the meet," Pradhan told reporters while inaugurating the media centre, set up for the conclave. According to Petroleum Minister, party veterans LK Advani and MM Joshi will also attend the national executive meet.
"The Prime Minister is scheduled to arrive at the Odisha's state capital by 3.30 pm on Saturday. The PM will proceed to the Raj Bhavan before attending the national executive meet at Janata Maidan at 5 pm," Pradhan said.
BJP president Amit Shah, who reached Bhubaneswar on Friday, garlanded the statue of BR Ambedkar at AG Chhak, near the secretariat. Shah is also slated to attend a programme at the state BJP headquarters to celebrate the Odia New Year.
Meanwhile, Bhubaneswar has turned into a fortress ahead of the PM's two-day visit as massive security arrangements have been made to avoid any untoward incident.
"The way we prepared the security arrangements for the BJP's national executive meeting, it is nothing less than Rath Yatra preparations. During Rath Yatra, we deploy around 4,000 police personnel at Puri. For the security and traffic management on April 15 and 16, we will mobilise at least 3,000 cops," said a senior police officer.
Police said that Modi's security is being looked after by the Special Protection Group, whereas Z Plus security arrangements will be made for the 13 chief ministers.
BJP to make its Odisha lab for welfare schemes: Pradhan
The BJP on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to make Odisha the laboratory of welfare schemes for the poor.
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said "While Prime Minister Modi's acceptability has increased in Odisha, the people are annoyed over the ruling BJD. People have changed their mind as they voted in favour of BJP in large number in the panchayat polls than the previous general elections in 2014."
Stating that the BJP is holding its national executive meeting here after a gap of 20 years, Pradhan said the central government led by Modi is committed to fulfil the aspirations of the people.
He said BJP president Amit Shah has been strengthening the party.
The BJP-led NDA government has already allocated Rs 5,200 crore for railway development in Odisha during the last three years, while the amount was dismal
during the Congress-led UPA government. During the UPA's tenure, maximum allocation was Rs 1,000 crore in one rail budget, Pradhan said.
"The allocations made to Odisha in railway development indicated Prime Minister Modi's responsibility towards the state," Pradhan said adding, Odisha has been the biggest beneficiary from the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.
He said the Centre has allocated Rs 3,000 crore for rural development in Odisha.
"While 1,600 km National Highways were constructed in Odisha during Atal Behari Vajpeye's tenure, Modi has planned to build 4,800 km of NH in the state," Pradhan pointed out.
He said Modi has planned construction of 450 km coastal highway from Gopalpur in Odisha to Digha in West Bengal, which will help boost Odisha's industries and tourism sector.
He also said the number of LPG consumers in the state has already increased to 43 lakh this year from 23 lakh in 2014.
Claiming that Modi's popularity has increased manifold across the country and abroad, the Union Minister said the people of Odisha have accepted the Prime Minister's plans and programmes.