Narendra Modi and Amit Shah
PM Modi and BJP President Amit Shah during BJP National Executive meeting, in New Delhi, Sunday | PTI
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Amit Shah says BJP will win in 2019 and will rule for the next 50 years.

New Delhi: Launching into complete election mode, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday tore into the opposition, primarily targetting the Congress, saying it was a pity that those who were a failure in government are also a failure in opposition.

With four assembly polls due at the end of the year and Lok Sabha elections mid-next year, the Prime Minister was unsparing and relentless in his criticism of the opposition, during his concluding speech at the BJP’s national executive at the Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi.

Also read: Shah readies strategy for upcoming Lok Sabha, assembly polls, meets state unit chiefs

“In a democracy, the opposition is important. But it is a pity that those who were a failure in government are also a failure in opposition. They have never raised the right issues,” senior cabinet minister Ravi Shankar Prasad quoted the PM as saying.

In a direct, caustic dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Modi said the Congress leadership was being deemed a “liability”, not just by the political parties it was trying to ally with, but even by those in the Congress.

“Nobody is willing to accept the Congress leadership, even smaller parties. Some even consider the Congress leadership to be a liability. This situation is true even within the Congress,” the Prime Minister reportedly said.

According to Prasad, Modi said he was willing to take on the opposition on the development narrative.  “If they question us on our work, we are willing to fight. Then the comparison that will come up will be of 48 years of a family’s rule versus 48 months of our performance. We will then ask whom that family worked for, with what consideration and purpose,” Modi reportedly said.

He also slammed the opposition for not fighting on issues. “The opposition does not fight on issues or work. They fight on lies. We don’t know how to fight falsehood. But now, we have to reply to their lies, through our work,” Prasad quoted Modi as saying.

Also read: Congress is ‘breaking India’ while the BJP is ‘making India’, says Amit Shah

PM attacks mahagathbandan

The Prime Minister also launched a stinging attack on the proposed opposition coalition, or mahagathbandhan, saying it was a “netratva ka thikana nahi, niti ashpasht, niyat bhrashta (a grand alliance with no idea of leadership, unclear strategy, corrupt intent)”.

He added the BJP did not see “any challenge” from the motley group of opposition parties in 2019. “People who can’t even stand the sight of each other, can’t walk together, are being forced to embrace each other. This is the biggest vindication of our success. This shows people have accepted our leadership, our programmes,” Modi said during his speech.

PM Modi also stressed on what is expected to be a key BJP plank in 2019 – welfare and pro-poor policies. Giving a slogan of “Ajay Bharat, Atal BJP – an India that remains victorious and can’t be subjugated by anyone and a BJP that remains firm in principles”, Modi said his government’s aim was “development with a human face, equality with humanity.”

The PM said his aim was for the BJP to win in each polling booth. “The booth is our chowki,” he said.  “I come from Gujarat. We haven’t been defeated in 31 years. This is because we don’t have the arrogance of power. We don’t see it as a way of sitting on the chair. We see it as a medium of change, an instrument to work for people and empower them,” he said.

On the contentious issue of simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls, the PM said there should be “no pressure, but there should be a discussion”.

Also read: BJP’s strategy for 2019 is the ‘There is no Alternative’ factor

No one can remove us for 50 years: Shah

The two-day national executive of the BJP began Saturday, at a time the party is gearing up to contest the forthcoming year-end assembly polls and the Lok Sabha elections. The meet was inaugurated by party president Amit Shah, who made the BJP’s electoral pitch on a plank of national security, welfare and a weak opposition.

Known to be the party’s key electoral brain, Shah on Sunday said the objective to connect with 22 crore families.

“We need to touch base with 22 crore families as we have 9 crore members. We need to map the country according to this.  We will win 2019 and then no one can remove us for 50 years,” he said.

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