Bhubaneswar: BJP president Amit Shah is in Odisha for a daylong tour Monday to fine-tune the party’s strategies for next year’s state assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
Shah’s visit comes two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a rally in the state slammed Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for saying no to the Centre’s flagship Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme and alleged corruption in the state government.
The BJP chief, who is scheduled to attend a women’s wing meeting at the seaside town of Puri, was accorded a warm welcome on his arrival here by senior leaders, including Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan and the party’s state unit chief Basant Panda.
“Reached Odisha, where I will be addressing the ‘Mahila Samavesh’, a sammelan of Mahila Shakti Kendra karyakartas and the BJP Mahila Morcha National Executive meeting in Puri (Odisha),” Shah tweeted soon after his arrival.
With just a few months to go before the Odisha Assembly polls and the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP chief’s visit has “spurred enthusiasm” among the party workers, particularly women, a saffron party member said.
“The party workers are gearing up to cross swords with the ruling BJD, which has been in power in Odisha since 2000. Shah was welcomed by a large number of women, including ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) workers, at the airport here,” he said.
During his road journey to Puri, the BJP chief was seen receiving a rousing reception at a number of places, including Uttara Chhak, Manalpur, Satasankha, Satyabadi by-pass, Chandanpur and Atharanala, amid drum beats.
He waved at the people lined up along the road to greet him.
The BJP president had slammed the Naveen Patnaik-led government on Twitter Sunday for rejecting the Centre’s flagship health scheme – PMJAY-Ayushman Bharat.
He had alleged that Chief Minister Patnaik has deprived the people of the state of the benefits of the health scheme owing to his “animosity towards the BJP”.
“The poor people of Odisha are unable to benefit from the scheme because of BJD’s narrow mindset. You will have to answer the people for petty politics. The BJP workers will undertake door-to-door campaign to make people aware of your anti-poor politics and their rights,” he had tweeted.
BJP Mahila Morcha national president Vijaya Rahatkar, who arrived in the state Sunday, said Shah’s Mahila Morcha meet will inspire women workers.
“Keeping the BJP’s ‘Mission 120+’ (120 of 147 assembly seats) in mind, the meet will go a long way to motivate the saffron party’s women women wing,” she said.
Odisha BJP Mahila Morcha president Pravati Parida asserted that the women workers are working wholeheartedly to translate Shah’s ‘Mission 120+’ dream into a reality.
“Shah, during his day-long visit, is set to review the organisational activities and tweak election strategies with inputs from senior leaders,” Parida said.
During his last visit to the state on July 1, Shah had advised BJP workers to strengthen the party base at the grassroots level.
The BJP chief had exuded confidence that the party would sweep the next assembly polls in Odisha in view of the “dismal” performance of the BJD government in the state and achievements of BJP-led NDA at the Centre.
Dubbing the BJD government in Odisha as “anti-women”, Rahatkar said Sunday the ruling party has failed to protect the women and children of the state.
“The number of rape incidents has increased in Odisha, but Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik continues to remain tight-lipped without taking steps to curb crimes against women,” she told PTI.
Noting that Shah’s presence in the Mahila Morcha meeting in Puri would galvanise the BJP and particularly enthuse the women workers, she said “all pertinent issues” would be discussed at the national executive committee meeting of the party’s Mahila Morcha.