New Delhi: The BJP on Friday set the tone for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with a no holds barred attack on the Opposition grand alliance and the coming together of the SP and the BSP in Uttar Pradesh, calling it an "eyewash" while describing the elections a battle of "two ideologies" and likening it with the battle of Panipat.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top leaders attending the two-day National Convention ahead of the general elections, party President Amit Shah sounded the poll bugle expressing confidence that the Modi government will return to power on the basis of its performance and on the idea of a strong leader versus a leaderless opposition.
He said the arch rivals were coming together because they have realised that they cannot defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi on their own individually and it was a victory for the BJP.
Being held against the backdrop of losses in the Assembly polls in the Hindi heartland states, the hour-long speech of the party President made no reference to the defeats or issues like agrarian distress, unemployment and the ill-effects of demonetisation that were said to have gone against the party.
Prime Minister Modi will address the valedictory session on Saturday.
Asserting that 2019 will be a year of expansion for the BJP, Shah said Modi was leading the NDA that has 35 parties while the opposition does not have either a leader or a policy.
He asked the BJP workers to resolve to bring Modi back to power in the general elections saying the people of the country will elect a "mazboot sarkar (strong government) and not a "mazboor sarkar" (compromising government).
Under pressure from the RSS and other members of the 'Sangh Parivar', Shah utilised the opportunity to assert that the government is keen on the construction of a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya in accordance with Constitutional norms but accused the Congress of creating hurdles.
"This 'mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance) is an eyewash. Everybody is fighting for their survival. We defeated them in 2014 and it is time to defeat them again. Politics is not physics but chemistry in which when two compounds meet they can lead to unintended consequences. They have come together for their self-interest and for power. This is a battle that will have a far-reaching impact for centuries to come. It is necessary to win it."
Touching upon the proposed alliance between arch rivals in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP President asked "if bua-bhatija' (aunt-nephew) come together what will happen. They did not want to see each other's face a few months back. They cannot sit together."
"We are ready to fight the battle to get over 50 per cent vote share in Uttar Pradesh. We will get not less than 74 seats (one more than what the BJP and its allies got in 2014). They have united because they cannot defeat Modi on their own. This is acceptance of our strength, of the strength of Prime Minister Modi," he said.
"There was a time when it used to be Congress versus all. Today it is a matter of pride that it is Modi versus all. He is a pole of Indian politics on the strength of his hard work," he said.
Calling the election the third battle of Panipat, Shah spoke of the rise of the Marathas under Shivaji and subsequent warriors and said they lost in the Battle of Panipat in 1761 and the country later came under the rule of the British for 200 years.
Speaking on the Agriculture resolution, Home Minister Rajnath Singh launched an attack on the Congress party, saying it was "pretending" to be the farmers' friend though it never cared for them when in power, and added that the opposition was already staring at defeat in the next Lok Sabha polls.
He underlined that India's growth story could not be written by bypassing the country's villages.
"The Congress party is pretending to be the champion of the farmers' cause, but it did not look at the Swaminathan Commission report for 10 years of UPA. It was Narendra Modi government that implemented the Commission's recommendation of giving the minimum support price (MSP) to the farmers," he said.
"The opposition knows that if the farmers of this country stand up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi then nobody can save their boat. Today the public is with Modi. In any case they (opposition) have almost conceded that their boat is going to sink in the coming elections," he added.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the NDA would come back to power again with the "blessings" of the poor people who have received food and houses at affordable prices and medicine for free in the Modi government's rule.
She said about 22 crore people in the country were benefited under the welfare schemes of the BJP-led NDA government for the poor, particularly the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
"Our government took care of food, house, medical treatment for poor people. So will not they give us blessings? Their prayer is the will of God," she said presenting the resolution on Poor Welfare.
"These people are making only one prayer that Modi government should come back to power again. And their blessing would not go in vain for sure."
Both the resolutions were adopted.