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BJP will rule 10-20 years, party says at leadership meet

BJP will rule 10-20 years, party says at leadership meet

Bengaluru: The BJP, which stormed to power nationally last year, will rule India for 10-20 years, party president Amit Shah announced here on Friday as the party opened a meeting of its top leaders.

"This government has arrived," Shah said to thunderous applause at the two-day meet, addressing 330 delegates including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "The BJP will be in power for the next 10-20 years."

Speaking in chaste Hindi, Shah also listed out the achievements of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Modi's government since May 2014 on various fronts, including economy and foreign policy.

He said the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had brought an end to the policy paralysis of the earlier Congress regime. "We have brought a new political culture."

And after becoming the world's largest political party, the BJP announced that it would train the over 15 lakh new members while further speeding up its nationwide membership drive.

Party leader Prakash Javadekar, who briefed the media about Shah's comments, said the BJP had become the biggest party in the world with 9.25 crore members. "We will cross the 10 crore mark soon."

Among those attending the meeting is party patriarch L.K. Advani.

As it was the executive's first meeting after the BJP got a majority in the Lok Sabha, an upbeat mood marked the inaugural session at a star hotel in the city centre amidst tight security.

Javadekar pointed out that besides ruling world's largest democracy, the BJP was in power in a dozen states -- "including eight states where we are in power on our own and four in alliance with our partners".

In his speech, Shah played down the BJP's shock defeat in Delhi in February but quickly added the party's Delhi unit needs to revive itself.

"The party president said we have had successes, and one failure in Delhi is not a big deal," Javadekar quoted Shah as saying.

"He said such things happen. We should not get arrogant after victory and desperate after defeat."

The Aam Aadmi Party routed the BJP in the February assembly election, winning 67 of the 70 seats. The BJP, which won 31 seats in 2013, could bag only three seats.

Talking about upcoming assembly polls in Bihar, Shah said the "jungle raj" was back in the state since the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) broke away from the BJP.

Riding high on becoming the world's largest political party, the national executive began its meeting earlier to take stock of its 10-month rule and chalk out strategies to spread its wings in India.

The party's Karnataka leaders honoured Advani, Modi, Shah and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the local style by crowning them with the famous Mysore petha (headgear), draping a shawl and garlanding them.

Modi inaugurated the meeting by lighting a lamp with the other three leaders on the dais. The meet was not open to the media.

Shah heaped praise on Modi's corruption-free government. "The economy is looking up and prices have been brought under control as evident from decline in inflation.

"A number of policy initiatives and administrative measures have been taken to revive growth and improve infrastructure."

The meeting will deliberate over various issues, including the controversial land acquisition bill which was stalled by the opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

The executive will also draw a plan to expand the party's footprint in states like Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and the north-east region where its presence is minimal.

"The meeting will also work out strategies to capture power in Bihar where elections are due this year," a party source said.

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