BJP to woo Dalits, farmers; Modi urges workers to focus on development

New Delhi : The two-day BJP national executive meeting concluded here on Sunday with the ruling party drawing up a roadmap on making development the main focus of all political activities and also on reaching out to Dalits as well as rural and farm communities.

In his address at the concluding session attended by ministers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh and BJP chief Amit Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged workers not to be diverted by “non-issues” raised from time to time by political detractors.

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“Our government is doing a good job. And our party workers should not get diverted by non-issues and we should focus on our own agenda,” Modi said.

“It will be an endeavour of our rivals that we get embroiled in all kinds of unnecessary controversies and our government’s developmental works are not discussed among people,” Modi told the meeting, according to Rajnath Singh.

Rajnath Singh announced that the prime minister will visit Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, the birthplace of the Constitution’s architect Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar on his birth anniversary on April 14.

“The prime minister will visit Mhow on April 14, the birth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar. A mega event will be held on the occasion,” he said.

He said The party has chalked out various future programmes and will reach out to every section of the marginalised society.

“From April 14 to 16, our leaders and party cadres will hold social harmony programmes at panchayat level. During the period, they will convey the messages of Dr. Ambedkar to the people and will reward the talented students of that panchayat,” he said.

Rajnath Singh said Modi will also visit Jamshedpur in Jharkhand on April 24, where he will address a conference of representatives of panchayats.

He said the party has chalked out a detailed 10-day nationwide special programmes from April 14 to 24 coinciding with Ambedkar’s birth anniversary (April 14) and Panchayati Raj Day (April 24).

“BJP president Amit Shah announced in today’s (Sunday’s) session that for 10 days, we will have programmes under the aegis of Gram Uday to Bharat Uday,” he said.

From April 14 to 16, BJP workers will fan out across all villages and educate people about Ambedkar’s life and works.

“We will also inform people how the BJP’s and government’s philosophy are committed to Ambedkar’s ideals,” he said.

From April 17 to April 20, there will be Kisan Sabhas in all villages.

“The prime minister is committed to double farm income by 2022. We will enlist the opinion of farmers on this,” he said.

Rajnath Singh said Modi in his address also hailed the 2016-17 budget and said that even small works, as enunciated in the budget proposals, like keeping small shops and business outlets open for all seven days should be taken to the people by the BJP workers.

“I feel it is necessary that the BJP workers should focus on capacity building and contribute in empowering India,” he said, calling on them to get involved more with the government’s developmental works and projects like the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Beti Bachao, Beto Padao scheme.

Talking to reporters, Rajnath Singh and Jaitley said that while the party was open to scrutiny and criticism, it “will not tolerate anti-nationalism”.

“We expect political opposition as a normal course but at any cost we cannot tolerate any anti-national thought process,” Rajnath Singh said.

Jaitley said the ideology of “nationalism” guides the party’s belief and that chanting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” — the cause of a recent row especially in Maharashtra — was an issue which should not be debated at all.

“We believe this is one issue on which there should be no debate. People in India should have absolutely no difficulty as far as this slogan is concerned and the best example we saw yesterday (Saturday) at Eden Gardens (during the India-Pakistan World Twenty20 match),” Jaitley said.

In Maharashtra, MIM legislator Waris Pathan was suspended on March 16 from the assembly after he refused to say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.

Jaitley also asserted that the party will record a “decisive” victory in Assam and will improve its performance in other states like Kerala and West Bengal.

He mocked the Congress for playing second fiddle to regional parties in many states.

“Look at Bihar, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. I think the Congress has lowered its political ambitions. It is quite content becoming the tail-ender of any alliance,” he said.