BJP meet in Kozhikode: PM Modi to touch on Uri in first public speech since terror attack

Kozhikode: The Uri terror attack loomed large as the BJP National Executive met on Friday ahead of the two-day National Council meeting starting on Saturday amidst demands for tough action against Pakistan.

The party itself sought to focus on the pro-poor agenda during the deliberations with BJP President Amit Shah asking its state governments to execute the schemes aimed at the welfare of the poor in the centenary birth anniversary year of its ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay.

On the first day of the three-day exercise, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate from Saturday, Shah focused on the party's 'garib kalyan' agenda in his address to the office-bearers. Shah told the party's office-bearers at the meeting held in a scenic resort on the Malabar town's outskirts that Kozhikode was a "holy pilgrimage" centre for them as it was here that Upadhyay was elected as President of the Jana Sangh, the BJP's forerunner, in 1967.

Modi, who is scheduled to address a public meeting, is expected to speak on the Uri incident at a time when there has been a clamour within the party and outside for action against Pakistan. There has been criticism of the Prime Minister with some detractors recalling the attacks he had made against the UPA government for its alleged soft attitude towards Pakistan- sponsored terror.

Shah will also speak on Saturday and deliver his address to the Council on Saturday when Modi will give the valedictory speech. Both leaders will touch on the Uri incident in their speeches, party leaders said. The party has also made elaborate arrangements to beam Modi's speech at the Council live so that its workers across the country can hear him.

Against the backdrop of the Uri attack in which 18 soldiers were killed, a key leader maintained that the party appreciates the sentiments in the country and that "action will keep happening" against Pakistan. BJP fielded its General Secretary Ram Madhav, who has advocated punitive action against Pakistan, before the media to outline the Council's focus on 'antyodaya' (uplift of the last man) and say how it is an occasion for the party to rededicate itself to Upadhyay's ideals.

Madhav parried a volley of questions about the party's position on the Uri attack but made it clear that it will be deliberated in the Council. "We are a party of grassroot workers. We understand and appreciate the sentiments in the country," he said. Prodded again, Madhav said, "A lot has happened in the last three days, especially on the diplomatic front". The party will air its views in the coming days, he said. "Let's wait for a while. There is joy in wait. You (media) will get your food," Madhav said.

Asked about the "lack of action" despite leaders, including him, making strong comments against Pakistan, he said, "You want only statements or action too? Actions too will keep happening." Soon after the Uri attack, Madhav had spoken about India adopting the policy of "for one tooth, complete jaw", asserting that the days of strategic restraint are over.

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