The BJP will reach its zenith when it will be running governments in states like Kerala and West Bengal, among others, says party president Amit Shah. (Photo: PTI)

Amit Shah Says BJP Yet To Reach Its Peak, Eyeing Power In Kerala, Bengal

The Bharatiya Janata Party may have notched up its best ever tally in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, but it is yet to reach its peak, BJP president Amit Shah said Thursday, asking key party leaders to expand to new regions—including Kerala and West Bengal—and bring more people into the saffron fold.

Chairing a meeting of the BJP's national office bearers and its key organisational representatives from states, Shah said the party will reach its zenith when it will be running governments in states like Kerala and West Bengal, among others.

Shah, who is also the Union Home Minister, gave final touches to BJP’s membership drive, which will be launched soon with an aim to increase its count by 20 percent, BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav told reporters.

According to Yadav, the schedule of the BJP membership drive, whose incharge will be former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, will be announced in a few days and that the party's organisational polls will follow the exercise. BJP sources said Shah will continue as the party president till the organisational elections are over.

The entire exercise may take several months, which means that the party may fight assembly elections in three states—Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra—later this year under him.

In his address at the meeting, Shah told party leaders that the Narendra Modi government's return to power with a massive mandate marks the victory of the BJP's agenda of nationalism, good governance and welfare of the poor.

Quoting Shah, Yadav said the party president recounted its growth since the days of Jana Sangh, the forerunner to the BJP.

Shah said the BJP strengthened itself in states like West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana in the last five years, while maintaining its dominance in states where it had done well in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. In a similar way, the party will expand itself in new states in the coming years, he said.

While the BJP witnessed big success in states like West Bengal and Odisha, two places where it had always been a marginal player, it was unable to win any seat in the three southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. The party there has to expand its reach and win over new sections of the society.

Yadav said Shah credited the BJP cadre at the booth-level for the party getting more than 50 percent vote share in 220 seats and winning over 303 seats.

This mandate is against casteism, family rule and communalism, Yadav quoted Shah as saying, and noted the decimation of the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh which, he added, had ended the myth about the strength of caste-based parties.

The BJP had claimed that it had 11 crore members during its 2014 drive. The party now aims to bump up the membership by 20 percent.

Bloomberg Quint

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