PM gets rousing welcome during Odisha roadshow

Prasad said Shah thanked the people of Odisha for backing BJP in a big way in recent Panchayat polls and according an "unprecedented" welcome to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his arrival here. But, our peak is yet to come, ' Shah said.

"To blame the electronic voting machines for defeat during the elections is like disrespecting the Election Commission", Shah said.

"Amit Shah, during his address at the executive meeting, maintained that the Odisha government is yet to provide safe drinking water to 86 per cent people and electricity to 41 per cent", Sambit Patra, BJP national spokesperson, quoted Shah as saying. "So our strategy is to target new areas/regions which have so far not yielded positive results in favour of our party", said a party source. Minister Prasad said that BJP chief Amit Shah will spend time at the booth-level for 95 days by September.

The meet follows the BJP's stunning election victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, besides securing enough support to form the governments in Manipur and Goa. "An experienced hacker is Chief Minister of a state", Prasad told reporters in response to a query. "We condemn it as such an act is against the culture and tradition of Odisha", senior BJP leader Suresh Pujari said. The party's gold era, he said, will coincide with India's golden era and it will emerge as a great nation in the world.

Prasad said BJP has traditionally been a weak political force in Odisha but due to the hard labour of its cadre in the past couple of years it has replaced Congress as the number two party. When BJP lost the 2004 and 2009 general elections or state elections like the one in Delhi, EVMs were just fine.

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No defections have been heard of so far but what might be going in BJP's favour is the very factor which is being perceived as a testimony of the invincibility of BJP and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik - three back-to-back terms in power. He also shook hands with many of them before getting into the auto again to drive into the Odisha Governor's residence.

Modi, L K Advani, Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley at party's national executive meet.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in the capital this afternoon, held an eight-km long road show from the airport to Raj Bhawan. "Modi", "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Bande Mataram". He got off the vehicle and walked for about half-a-kilometre near Jaidev Vihar, mingling freely with the people before arriving at Janata Maidan, the venue of the two-day national executive.

13 chief ministers of the party, the most BJP has ever had, were also in the audience.

  • Toni Ryan