BJP yet to be at its peak, says Amit Shah

Congress teamed up with Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad for Bihar elections

Congress teamed up with Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad for Bihar elections

In the panchayat elections in the state in February, the saffron party was unable to win a higher number of seats than the Biju Janata Dal, which has been in power in Odisha for the past 17 years.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, speaking at a press conference on the BJP national executive meeting on Saturday, said that party president Amit Shah would embark on a 95-day tour of the country.

Modi, who landed at the state capital in the afternoon, held a roadshow from the airport to the Raj Bhavan, covering a distance of around 8 km. Special Protection Group personnel following Mr. Modi were expecting him to stop to acknowledge the party leaders' welcome and return to the vehicle. "We will not reach the peak until BJP becomes a pan India party, and all the states have our own Chief Ministers".

BJP leaders said the road show was a repeat of Modi's Varanasi exercise.

Some senior BJP workers have expressed disappointment over the absence of cutouts of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and party veteran L K Advani.

Urging party workers "not to be lethargic" after stunning victories in recently-concluded assembly polls, Amit Shah said that all the National Executive members including ministers would visit at least 15 days at booths to know their problems and concerns including to take suggestions for the improvement. In 1998, the NDA formed its government at the Centre under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the BJD joined the government. The move is expected to boost the BJP's standing in the state.

On Saturday, Shah will also hold a national office bearers meet. Three years later, it formed the government in Odisha in alliance with the BJD and stayed in power till 2009.

Shah wondered if the UPA had not won in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha polls when EVMs were used or if the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP had swept the Delhi assembly polls in 2015 due to use of ballot papers.

Shah was also presented with a garland of 74 lotus, a reference to the majority mark in the 147-seat Odisha assembly.

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