BJP able to repeat UP performance in Odisha, says Shah

Odisha BJP chief Basanta Panda claimed that his road show will herald a "new era of politics" in the state, hopeful that his party, always a marginal force in this eastern state, will emerge as the key challenger to the ruling BJD by the time next Lok Sabha and assembly polls arrive in 2019.

Questioning the integrity of electronic voting machines (EVMs) amounted to openly disrespecting the Election Commission, he said in his inaugural address at the two-day national executive meet of the BJP here.

As Modi is coming to attend BJP's national executive meeting beginning here tomorrow, he should announce special category state status for Odisha at the same meeting, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan told reporters.

Urging party workers "not to be lethargic" after stunning victories in recently-concluded assembly polls, Prasad also said that the BJP chief would tour, for 95 days, different parts of the country till September. This only will bring BJP's "golden era".

In most of the hoardings and banners Modi and party chief Amit Shah figure prominently, while in some Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Juel Oram - who hail from the state - also find place.

Shah had held discussions with party office-bearers to set the meeting agenda.

Just three years into power, Shah declared Modi the most popular leader of independent India who has an "extraordinary connect" with the people. BJP supporters raised slogans of "Modi-Modi" and "Vande Mataram" and some showered flowers on the Prime Minister.

"I think it (the BJP meet) will not have any impact on the people of Odisha", he had said.

"This is not our peak.We should have our chief minister in every state".

All senior Bhartiya Janata Party leaders are heading for Bhubaneswar for a two-day session of the party's national executive, seen as its launch pad for the 2019 general elections. "He is an IIT gradute", Prasad said.

"But the BJP is yet to be at its peak".

Talking about the work done by Modi government in the last three years, Shah said that the kind and amount of work done by the Narendra Modi government in the last three years would take other parties two to three terms to match. "The Naveen Patnaik government has failed to provide basic amenities to the people in the state", he said.

He fought sweltering heat to hold a 40-minute-long show on the streets of capital Bhubaneswar in the afternoon, waving and smiling to an enthusiastic crowd on both sides of the road.

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