BJP President Amit Shah vowed on Thursday to strengthen the party in every village and booth in Andhra Pradesh to make the state the strongest fort of the party in south India.
In remarks which could ring the alarm bells in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally Telugu Desam Party (TDP), he said he would be after Andhra Pradesh till BJP strengthens in every village and booth.
Addressing a meeting of booth-level workers of the party, he said of 42,000 polling booths in the state, the BJP has formed its committees in 25,000 booths.
"Last year, when I came here I had said Andhra Pradesh will become BJP stronghold. Today, I want to say in entire south India, if there is one state where it will be the strongest, it would be Andhra Paradesh," he said.
Shah described the meeting in Vijayawada as the beginning of BJP's victory march in Andhra Pradesh and exuded the confidence it would prove a milestone in the history of the state.
While noting that the BJP is sharing power with the TDP in the state and it has two ministers in the cabinet, Shah made it clear that the BJP would continue to strengthen itself in the state.
He announced he would visit the state again in August for three days for booth-level review.
Claiming the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government provided Rs 1.75 lakh crore assistance to Andhra Pradesh in the last three years, he appealed to people to accord a historic welcome to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he arrives in Visakhapatnam in July.
Former Union Minister D. Purandeswari, who is also the sister-in-law of TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, translated Shah's speech in Telugu.
The BJP has just four members in 175-member Andhra Pradesh assembly.
The BJP chief clarified that Andhra Pradesh could not be given special category status because of the report of 14th Finance Commission which was constituted by the previous Congress-led government.
He, however, claimed the NDA government found a way out by announcing special package for the state.
He said under the special package, Andhra Pradesh would get the same assistance which it would have received with special category status.
"There will not be loss of even one rupee," he said.
Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said in the country's history, no other state received such a huge assistance from the central government in such a short period.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, BJP's Andhra Pradesh unit President K. Haribabu and other leaders were also present.