With the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls on his mind, BJP President Amit Shah today attacked the Samajwadi Party government over the “atmosphere of violence” in the state, citing recent Mathura clashes and “migration” of Hindus from a western UP town to target it. In his inaugural speech at the party’s two-day national executive, Shah also stressed on the challenges before the party in 2017, when elections are due in UP, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, as he exhorted the party workers to rise to the occasion by taking the Modi government’s “successes” to the masses.
With the entire party leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, present, he also trained guns on the Congress, saying it is “increasingly weakening” and its “atrophy is growing at an alarming pace due to its policy of repeatedly obstructing the government’s path to development” in the last two years. He also expressed confidence that the party will return to power in UP in 2017 and the Centre in 2019 as well. Briefing reporters about Shah's speech, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the National Executive will not name any chief ministerial candidate for the UP polls, noting that such a decision can be taken only by the party’s Parliamentary Board, its highest decision-making body.
Prasad also faced a barrage of questions on whether the saffron party was attempting at “communal polarisation” with Shah raking up issues like migration of Hindus from Kairana, a contention he vehemently denied. He insisted that the BJP’s “foremost commitment” was to UP’s development but made it clear that the Akhilesh Yadav government’s law and order failures be it in Mathura or Kairana were a matter of deep concern. "We don't speak about communalism but about national interest." Prasad quoted Shah as saying, “the migration happening in Kairana due to violence is a matter of serious concern. There is an atmosphere of violence. The lack of development and the lack of governance in the biggest state of India that is Uttar Pradesh is becoming a matter of serious concern.”
The party president also referred to the highest civilian honours accorded on Modi by two prominent Islamic countries, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, in a clear message to Muslims who continue to be wary of BJP due to its Hindutva agenda.