Bhubaneswar, Jun 8 (PTI) Senior BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday addressed a virtual rally for Odisha and called upon the party workers and leaders to transform the state into the party's 'fortress' as its people have full faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Addressing the rally from New Delhi, Shah during his 48-minute speech came down heavily on the opposition Congress but did not mention either the ruling BJD in Odisha or Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik giving a clear indication on the cordial relationship between the two parties.
Stressing on strengthening the party in Odisha, which has been under the BJD for 20 years, he said about 91 lakh people of the state had voted for BJP and elected eight MPs to the Lok Sabha and 23 MLAs to the state assembly in the 2019 elections.
The work that was started during my tenure (as BJP president) is now half-complete. It should be completed during the tenure of J P Nadda (the present party president). The party organisation should be further strengthened and Odisha should be made a BJP fortress, he said.
Shah, when he was the BJP president, had set a target for the party to win more than 120 of the 147 assembly seats in the 2019 elections.
However, it fell far short of the target and ended up with just 23 seats in the assembly even as it got a big gain in Lok Sabha polls by winning eight of the 21 seats, including the prestigious Bhubaneswar parliamentary seat.
Stating that the prime minister is fully committed to the development of Odisha, Shah said the BJP government has sanctioned huge funds for developmental activities in the state besides standing shoulder to shoulder during calamities like Cyclones Fani and Bulbul and the recent Amphan.
Modi's love for Odisha was evident when he rushed to visit the state two days after Cyclone Amphan that had crossed the Odisha coast before its landfall near Sunderbans in West Bengal.
The prime minister had immediately sanctioned Rs 1,000 crore for West Bengal and Rs 500 crore for Odisha for the relief and restoration activities after the May 20 extremely severe storm, he said.
Shah gave a detailed account of the central assistance to Odisha in the first year of its second term in office.
Schemes like the Centre's Swachh Bharat, Ujjwala, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and PM-KISAN have immensely benefited the people of Odisha, he claimed.
The BJP-led government at the Centre has given Rs 5,52,109 crore assistance to Odisha in five years, said Shah, adding that the prime minister has only one goal -- to develop the country's eastern region.
Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who too addressed the virtual rally, recalled a meeting of Odisha's MPs with the then prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2005.
When the MPs demanded more money for the development of the state, Singh had commented that money does not grow on trees. In a sharp contrast, the Modi government released Rs 500 crore a day after Cyclone Amphan, Pradhan said. PTI AAM SKN KK RHL