Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the Bhartiya Janata Party was built on the hard work of its karyakartas and criticised the ruling Biju Janata Dal government while speaking at an election meeting at Sundergarh, Odisha.

Modi said the party was not founded on borrowed ideology, instead took birth from the aspirations of the people of India. The BJP is celebrating its 40th Founding Day on Saturday.

“We [BJP] aren’t based on a family or money,” he says. “Karyakartas and their hard work have made this party...Today, BJP has government in all four corners of the country. People have embraced the BJP and it’s in their heart. It’s one of the largest democratic political party. People from all sections of the society are becoming part of the BJP.”

Modi said BJP workers are killed in West Bengal and Kerala, but that it will not deter party workers. The prime minister claimed no party has ever thought of carrying out an “air strike and surgical strike”. “It’s indicative of strengthening India,” he says. “A strong government is necessary for strong and empowered India.”

Modi claimed the Biju Janata Dal led by Naveen Patnaik has obstructed financial assistance to farmers, and free treatment to the poor under Ayushman Bharat Yojana. “It shows that they have evil and doubtful intentions,” he said. “BJD’s misrule in Odisha is ending. BJP has people’s blessings,” NDTV quoted him as saying.

He added that the BJP has well-thought policies and good intentions. “Because of this we have worked for the welfare of the poor, the deprived and the marginalised people of the society,” he said.

Odisha will have its Assembly elections along with Lok Sabha elections. Polling will be held in four phases, starting from April 11 to April 29. Votes will be counted on May 23.