File photo of BJP President Amit Shah during a public rally, in Jammu on Saturday
In a sharp attack on the Congress and the Gandhi-Nehru family, BJP president Amit Shah said on Saturday that a party which "failed" in establishing internal democracy can never preserve India's democracy.
Before the BJP came to power under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, India was lagging behind other countries in most key areas such as economic growth, agriculture and on social sector indicators, he said.
However in the past four years, things have improved considerably, Shah said, addressing the audience at 'Youth Parliament' organised in the Karnavati University here.
"Before 2014, a particular party remained in power for the maximum period after Independence. But the way these governments functioned, a large part of population remained deprived of development.
"These people had a feeling that independence brought no benefit for them," he said, without taking the name of the Congress party.
He then highlighted the achievements of the BJP-led government at the Centre.
"After assuming office (in May 2014), the first task Modiji took up was to uplift 50 crore people. In these four years, he brought 30 crore citizens in the formal economy by opening their bank accounts. More than 4.5 crore women were given LPG connections, while 7.5 crore toilets were built during that period," Shah said.
Continuing his attack on the Congress, the BJP chief said though many people sacrificed their lives during the freedom struggle, attempts were made to give credit for Independence to one party or a particular family.
"The party which came to power immediately after Independence has abolished internal democracy in the party. It has become family-centric. A party which has failed to preserve its own internal democratic structure, can never preserve the country's democracy," Shah said.
"If we want to preserve democracy in our country, we must establish internal democracy in politics. Since that did not happen in the past, our country could not achieve desired results post independence," the BJP chief said.
Shah said the Indian Space Research Organisation realised its full potential after the Modi government came to power. This was reflected in the ISRO sending a record number of satellites in space in one go in early 2017, he added.
"In the past, the ISRO used to launch one or two or a maximum 13 satellites at one go. But after Modiji came (to power), ISRO launched 104 satellites in one go, leaving the US behind.
"We did that with the same scientists and resources which were there in the past," Shah said.
Referring to the World Economic Forum meet in Davos earlier this year, he again targeted the Congress, saying previous prime ministers - most of them from the Congress party - were concerned about getting photos clicked with world leaders at the conclave.
"In the past, there existed no chance for Indian PMs to address the forum. But this time, despite the presence of many world leaders, Modiji got the privilege to inaugurate the meet and gave his speech in Hindi," he said.
Commenting on the surgical strikes across the LoC in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, he said Modi's go-ahead to the armed forces for the 2016 raid put India in the league of nations such as the US and Israel, which are known to avenge the killing of their soldiers.
Shah urged the youth to join Modi's mission to build a New India by 2022.
The BJP leader said the New India will be a society free of casteism, poverty, community divisions, dynastic political system, corruption and politics of appeasement.
"Let's take a pledge to build a New India as envisaged by Modiji, who is the most charismatic and popular leader in the world. We all are lucky to have him at the helm of affairs in the country," Shah said.