Friends, I welcome you all to the first meeting of the newly constituted National Executive.
IMPACT OF THE NAGPUR MESSAGE
The nation is still discussing our Party's Nagpur message. The media, both national and international, continue to analyse and critically comment on it, devoting acres of newsprint and several hours of airtime.
Reactions from our political adversaries - mainly the Congress and the Communist parties -- are predictably uncharitable and graceless. In fact, their comments betrayed their sense of panic. Probably they have read the writing on the wall: the Nagpur session of the BJP National Council has sounded the deathknell to their cynical practice of vote bank politics.
The great Indian people, however, have received the Nagpur message with the warmth and enthusiasm that has exceeded our own expectation. Especially, common people from among the Minorities, Dalits, Adivasis, the Other Backward Castes have responded positively to our Party's message. The thousands of letters and messages that I received in the past one month bear a clear testimony to the goodwill that is welling up in these sections towards our party.
I have personally met countless number of Muslim, Dalit, Adivasi and OBC delegations. They have specially come to meet me to say that they welcome our Party's Nagpur message. The enthusiasm that is displayed by the people at the public meetings during my tours in the past weeks convince me that they are ready to tear down the wall of separation that years of false propaganda erected between many of them and us.
We must continuously strive to further expand and deepen our support base, so that the BJP consolidates its growth as a pre-eminent national party on a sustainable basis. I would like the Party workers to vigorously propagate the 10-point Action Plan for promoting Social and Economic Justice for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs, which I had outlined in my Presidential Address at Nagpur.
I would also like you to deliberate and evolve a set of practical measures for consolidating the goodwill towards us that is evident among those sections of the minorities who have so far remained indifferent to our appeal. I am confident that our sincere and sustained efforts will succeed in changing the relationship between our party and Indian Muslims for mutual benefit and for the larger benefit of India.
PRIME MINISTER'S US VISIT
I would like to place on record the Party's deep appreciation of the recent visit of our beloved Prime Minister, Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to the United Nations and to the United States. It was historic by any reckoning.
At the Millenium Summit of the United Nations, Atalji's call for the establishment of an equitable and conflict-free world clearly and cogently expressed the global aspiration for the new century. The Prime Minister's persuasive advocacy for mobilising International opinion against terrorism, especially State-sponsored cross-border terrorism, sent the right warning to the evil forces that are trying to subvert our national unity, integrity and social harmony.
Thanks to India's consistent diplomatic efforts, there is today a growing recognition in the world that terrorism is a threat to the peaceful and civilized global order, and that a collective global effort alone can combat it effectively.
The Prime Minister's visit to Washington has led to further appreciation by the U.S. leadership of India's view point and concerns. It has brightened the prospects of substantial investments from the U.S., in our country, increase in bilateral trade, and co-operation in the fields of economic development and scientific research. The ground for the formal lifting of all sanctions against India has been cleared.
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT'S VISIT
The visit of the Russian President, beginning tomorrow will further strengthen the traditional friendship between India and Russia. The Strategic Partnership Agreement to be signed by the two countries is of great long-term significance for both of us.
CONGRESS CULTURE CONVICTED
The special court trying the JMM case found the former Prime Minister Shri P.V.Narasimha Rao guilty of bribing MPs to vote in favour of his government to win the no-confidence motion. The Congress Party might try to disown, or distance itself from, Shri Rao to salvage some of its lost moral ground. But the incontrovertible fact is that it is a judgement convicting not merely him as an individual, but the entire Congress Party and its culture of resorting to every corrupt means to cling to power. The country should not lose sight of this crucial import of the judgement.
GET READY FOR THE UPCOMING ASSEMBLY POLLS
Friends, the Party will soon face crucial elections to the Assemblies in several States. The terms of legislatures in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Punjab are going to come to an end in about an year. In addition, of the three newly created states, Uttaranchal will have to elect its legislature.
We must be victorious in all the States going to the polls, singly or with our partners in the National Democratic Alliance. We have no time to lose. We must begin our preparations in right earnest from now itself. We need to ready our organizational machinery in these states to face the challenge. The concerned State units should begin to organize mass contact programmes. We need to undertake a through review of our performance in the last two Lok Sabha elections and unhesitatingly learn from any mistakes that we might have committed.
The situation is favourable to us. Our Party enjoys considerable goodwill. Our Government at the Centre, under the able leadership of Shri Atalji, has set a new benchmark of performance. Our Party has a very clear and comprehensive programme for development. We must gear up our Party machinery to propagate our performance and achievements and fight this electoral battle with the determination to win. We must not let any hesitation and half-heartedness to weaken our unity and resolve at any level.
UP: LET US WORK FOR REGAINING PEOPLE'S MANDATE
I am confident that such a positive attitude will pay us rich dividends in Uttar Pradesh. As we all know, the opposition parties in the State present a picture of utter disunity and disarray. Unlike many of them, our Party's support base embraces all sections of society and covers all regions of the State.
The enthusiastic response I received during my recent visit to Kanpur convinces me that the people of the State are with the BJP. The State Party President Shri Kalraj Mishra's mass-contact yatra has also created a very positive atmosphere, once again reminding us that there is no alternative to hard work and political mobilisation at the grassroots.
Let us, therefore, get our act together to beat the so called 'anti-incumbency syndrome' and renew our mandate in Uttar Pradesh.
SITUATION IN WEST BENGAL
I express our Party's condolences to all those who lost their kith and kin and suffered other forms of loss in the recent floods in West Bengal.
The havoc caused by the floods in the State has once again highlighted the misrule of the Left Front Government. Although floods are the result of Nature's fury, the damage has been aggravated by the criminal neglect of flood-control measures by the State Government year after year. Our karyakarthas should participate fully in the relief and rehabilitation activities. At the same time, they should educate the people about the Left Front Government's acts of omission and commission. They should also expose its consistent failure even to fully utilise the developmental funds made available by the Centre, because of its inability to provide matching resources owing to the bankruptcy of its exchequer.
The State is going to the polls in a few months. It is eagerly waiting to finally liberate itself from the long misrule of the CPI(M). The people there are ready to give a mandate to the Trinamool Congress-BJP alliance. Precisely because they are faced with the certainty of an ignominious defeat, the Communists have become panicky and desperate to retain power by any means, fair or foul.
The political as well as law and order situation in West Bengal is alarming. Political activists of opposition parties, especially those belonging to the Trinamool Congress and BJP, are being murdered by the ruling party workers. Even ordinary people who do not fall in line with the dictates of the local bosses of the CPI(M) are physically assaulted and harassed. I express our Party's heartfelt condolences to the families of all the political activists who lost their lives at the hands of the Communist goons.
It is very clear that the Left Front is not able to face the mounting opposition to its malgovernance. The people have seen through the methods of "scientific rigging" adopted by the left front in all the past elections. The gruesome violence perpetrated by the cadres of the ruling party is, therefore, a last-ditch attempt by them to stop the relentless erosion of their support base.
During my visit to the State last fortnight, I have met several people who have become refugees in their own villages. Their condition is pathetic. They want the Union Government to intervene suitably to restore the rule of law in the State. They look to the Union Government for succour.
WINDS OF CHANGE IN ASSAM
Last fortnight, I visited Assam. The people's hunger for change is clearly visible in the State. They are thoroughly disillusioned with the AGP Government. The opportunism of the AGP leardership has been fully exposed. Not only has it failed to contain the ULFA and other extremist forces, but there is also a well-grounded suspicion among the people that it is soft towards the misdeeds of SULFA. The people of the State are also well aware of the opportunism and infighting in the Congress.
There is, thus, a new opening for us in Assam. The people look to our Party with great hope. I urge the State unit of the Party to seize the opportunity by mobilising the entire army of our workers and supporters in the forthcoming electoral battle.
BEST WISHES TO THE PRIME MINISTER
Friends, I conclude by expressing, on your behalf and on my own behalf, our very best wishes to our beloved Shri Atalji as he prepares to undergo a surgery to his knee in Mumbai on 10th October. I am confident that he will come back in better health to continue to lead the nation on the path of all-round progress.