A day before India plays arch rival Pakistan in the much awaited final of the Champions Trophy in England, BJP president Amit Shah ruled out that bilateral cricketing ties between the two stations would start again.
“India and Pakistan will continue to play at international tournaments but neither India plays in Pakistan nor Pakistan plays in India,” said Shah, who also heads the Gujarat Cricket Association.
According to various media reports, Shah, who is in Mumbai on a three-day visit to strengthen the party organisation in the state, said the BJP would consult its allies before the NDA’s presidential nominee is finalized. He is scheduled to meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
He was responding to questions about ally Sena, which has often been critical of the BJP and the Modi government, and has suggested the name of MS Swaminathan, known as the Father of India’s Green Revolution, as its presidential choice.
When asked about Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ remark that the BJP was prepared for snap assembly election, in an apparent reference to continued strain in ties with the Shiv Sena, Shah said, “What he meant was that if mid-term polls are forced on us, we are ready to fight.”
Calling Narendra Modi the most popular leader since Independence, Shah said the Prime Minister was making all efforts to transform India into a world power by 2022, when the nation celebrates 75 years of freedom.
Under Modi, he said, India had become the world’s fastest growing major economy. The BJP chief said Modi had restored dignity to the Prime Minister’s Office.
“Every minister in the previous UPA government considered himself the PM, but nobody considered the PM as PM,” he said. Lauding Modi for enacting the Goods and Services Tax law, the BJP leader said nobody else had the “daring or capability” to do it.
“India has emerged as a global leader on the issue of climate change, as seen at the Paris deliberations,” Shah said.
Shah said the Modi government brought an end to politics of appeasement and dynastic rule. “Our biggest achievement is ending communalism, dynastic rule and appeasement (politics),” he said.