Bhubaneswar: BJP’s rise from a two-member party in 1984 to one of the world’s largest has a strong connection with Odisha and its presiding deity, Lord Jagannath, which very few people know of, Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan said here on Monday. Exuding confidence of the saffron party forming the government in the eastern state in due democratic process, Pradhan said it is working tirelessly to achieve it and has not run out of patience.
Pradhan was speaking at an event to mark the launch of the Odia translation of a book titled ‘Amit Shah and the march of BJP’ originally written by Anirban Ganguly and Shiwanand Dwivedi.
The Union minister said in 1984 some miscreants had burnt down the wooden idols of Lord Jagannath in Ahmedabad.
Two youths, then little known, had protested the arson, which led to a massive people’s movement. The two are Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. The movement played a big role in laying the foundation of a stronger BJP after its 1984 debacle when it had won only two seats in the country, he said.
Legend has it that during the British Raj, a saint from Odisha had helped contain cholera in Ahmedabad. Since then, people in Gujarat, especially those from Ahmedabad, have immense faith in Lord Jagannath, Pradhan said.
The Union minister said Shah’s commitment to building a strong, secure and New India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his untiring efforts and achievements as a devout karyakarta will inspire the next generation of BJP workers to take the “sangathan” to even greater heights.
The Union minister credited “iron-willed” Shah for being the architect of BJP’s poll wins after 2014. Like the rest of the country, Shah has a big role in the party’s resurgence in Odisha too, he said.
During his tenure as BJP president, Shah has held organisational meetings with workers from all 314 blocks, which helped the party improve its votes from 12%-15% in 2014 to 32%-38% by 2019 and to position itself as the principal opposition here. “I am sure the time will come soon when BJP will get a chance to govern the state and serve its 4.5 crore people. We have been working with patience with that aim in mind,” Pradhan said.