PM Narendra Modi speaks for Pasmanda muslims at BJP conclave

During a discussion on the National Commission for Backward Classes, Prime Minister suggested that the party should hold conferences for "backward Muslims".

BJP top brass in the state have left for Odisha to participate in the two-day BJP national executive meeting being held in Bhubaneswar. Shah said the state lagged far behind BJP-ruled states in every index of development. For three terms now, chief minister Biju Patnaik has been in power, leading a regional party. "We can't simply move forward on a slow pace, but charge ahead with full speed", the Prime Minister said.

As the Prime Minister's 9 km-long roadshow passed through the main road connecting the airport and the Raj Bhavan, the air was rent with the chants of "Modi".

He said the NDA meeting in Delhi on April 10 had reposed full confidence on the Prime Minister and partners had set a target to win the 2019 general elections with a two-thirds majority.

Though Governor SC Jamir had not gone to the airport to receive the Prime Minister, he was present there to give a warm send-off to Modi.

State BJP leaders, too, accepted that Panda, who has very good relations with senior BJP leaders, will be a welcome choice for the party. Of the three Lok Sabha seats reserved for Scheduled Castes in the state, the party had not won even one. BJP President Amit Shah has begun micro management for these contests. He also asked party leaders to not to get strayed into giving "misleading statements".

"If the Left governments think they can suppress the BJP by attacking us, they are wrong".

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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.

Though 70 percent of the country is being governed by the BJP, he warned the party cadres against being lackadaisical and exhorted them to work wresting power in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

'Kucch to karega, hum to unko dekhne aaya hai (something he will do, I have come to see him),' said Akul Raut, a farmer from Badamba in Cuttuck district.

Asked about the comment of Modi on triple talaq, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who briefed the media later, said the Prime Minister briefly spoke on the issue saying "Muslim women should get justice and none should be exploited".

Pradhan added: 'Odisha is a laboratory for the Modi government's pro-poor policies in the country. "We were also weak in north eastern states like Assam and Manipur".

Shah, in his speech, said that 14 per cent people in Odisha were denied safe drinking water, 22 per cent did not have toilet and 41 per cent lacked quality electricity.

  • Rita Burton