New Delhi, Oct 27: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hosted National Democratic Alliance MPs over a tea at his residence to boost BJP ties with its alliance partners. This was for the first time the prime minister was interacting with all NDA MPs together after forming a government in May.
Among those present in the meeting were senior BJP leader LK Advani and MM Joshi, Cabinet Ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Dr Harshvardhan, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Ram Vilas Paswan and the party chief, Amit Shah.
Prime Minister’s message to the allies was clear: “think big, far and above politics” and be a “force with tremendous positive energy” while helping the government achieve its goals.
The Diwali Milan, at the PM’s residence, was seen as an exercise to dispel any impression of a gap between the government and the alliance. And Modi sought to take the MPs on board as he discussed his government’s recent initiatives.
According to reports, the PM had also invited the Shiv Sena to restrengthen their ties, but Sena’s lone representative in Modi’s Cabinet, Anant Geethe, was present along with other party MPs.
Shiv Sena reportedly made it clear that since the event was only for the MPs belonging to the Centre’s ruling alliance, their leader will not go.
Anant Geethe said: “I will attend it and so will all Sena MPs.”
Another senior Sena leader on condition of anonymity reportedly said: “The event that the PM is hosting is only for the MPs of NDA partners. When Uddhavji is not an MP, where is the question of him being invited? This is not even a question worth asking.”
Modi urged the NDA MPs to visit schools in their areas over a five-day period starting November 14 — the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru — and explain to children the importance of hygiene. “Achieving Swachh Bharat (clean India) is tough but just as the people of this country got together to eradicate polio, Swachh Bharat can also be achieved,” he said.
Making a detailed presentation on the economy, finance minister Arun Jaitley explained the reasons behind the government’s gas pricing and diesel deregulation moves.
He argued that the decision to let the market determine petroleum product prices had helped bring down diesel rates. And he pointed out that while the Centre was committed to pushing growth, it was mindful of the people and had taken the end user price into consideration while determining gas pricing.
The minister also said the government had managed to curb inflation to some extent, and briefed MPs on the Pradhanmantri Jan Dhan Yojana, calling the ‘banking for all’ mission a big success.
Similarly, other ministers including labour minister Narendra Singh Tomar and rural development minister Nitin Gadkari briefed MPs about the schemes their ministries were implementing.
Modi also urged his guests to convey to the masses that these initiatives were not aimed at curbing the interests of workers but were an exercise to ensure that their rights were protected.
On the occasion, the PM also lauded the role of BJP president Amit Shah for the party’s victory in the Haryana and Maharashtra assembly elections.
(With Agency Inputs)