The National Council notes with a sense of satisfaction and pride that the NDA government for the past two and half years presents a successful example of running a coalition government. This leadership and the direction provided by the Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee to the Nation is leading India towards the direction of becoming an important world power.
The National Council is meeting at a crucial time. Terrorist and disruptive activities of the last few months, highlighted by the brutal massacre of Amarnath pilgrims and scores of innocent people in Jammu & Kashmir, the series of blasts at places of worship and the seizure of large quantities of explosives and small arms bring out the gravity of the challenge posed to India's security by forces openly hostile to our national unity and integrity, and who have been vanquished four times in an open war.
Although it suffered a crushing military and humiliating diplomatic defeat in Kargil last year, Pakistan, under the present military regime, continues to promote cross-border terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir and other parts of India. Indeed, the military regime in Islamabad has displayed increasing belligerence and made no effort to hide the fact that Pakistan has adopted cross-border terrorism as an instrument of state policy. On several occasions in recent times, the military regime in Islamabad has declared support for the terrorists (jihadis) trained, armed and funded by Pakistan and sought to justify their murderous crimes in India.
There has been increasing international condemnation of Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism, fuelled by mounting religious extremism in that country. This cross-border terrorism threatens peace and stability in the region and beyond and, therefore, calls for concerted international action also. In this context, we urge the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention Against Terrorism and call upon the Government to pursue it vigorously at the coming UN General Assembly session.
The BJP supports the Government on its unequivocal stand and continuing battle against terrorism. We call upon the people to close ranks and back the Government's initiatives on this front.
In this regard we urge all political parties to take a balanced and considered view of the proposed anti-terrorism law, rather than reject it on the basis of unfounded apprehensions and partisan politics. India is the only country in the world that is plagued by terrorism but lacks the legal wherewithal to fight this crime against humanity. Ironically, even Pakistan, the progenitor of cross-border terrorism, has an anti-terrorism law. The USA and the UK have anti-terrorism laws much stiffer than the one proposed by the NDA Government.
We urge the people to realise that what is at stake is the fundamental requirement for economic development and social progress: India's national security. We are confident of the Government, under the able leadership of Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, overcoming this challenge. None should doubt the resolve of either the National Democratic Alliance Government or the people of India to defeat forces inimical to our unity and integrity.
The National Council calls upon the Government to take all possible steps to ensure the security of life and property of every citizen of India, especially who have been braving terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir and some other States. A clear message needs to be sent to terrorists and their masters across the border that every Indian's life is precious and will be defended and that indulging in cross-border terrorism cannot continue to remain a cost-free option. The rejection of the Autonomy Resolution by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly is a step in the right direction.
At the same time, the Government should not hesitate to talk to those Indians who are willing to give up violence and sit across the table. This is no doubt an uphill task, given the fact that Pakistan will spare no effort to undermine all peace efforts. This was evident in the manner the nascent talks with Hizbul Mujahideen were torpedoed. We resolve to strengthen the Government's hand in both its campaign against terrorism as well as in its peace initiatives. The International Isolation of Pakistan, the alienation of the militants from the Kashmiri people are already two positive signals in the direction. The BJP is fully committed to Jammu and Kashmir being integral part of India and to the defence of National sovergnity.
To check the problem of infiltration and illegal immigration, Government must seriously pursue several options. The Passport Act is being amended. This is a step in the right direction. We urge Government to take up a time-bound programme of issuing multi-purpose photo identity card to all citizens and create a centralised database that can ultimately serve as a National Register of Citizens.
Despite a concerted effort by Pakistan's ISI working through anti-national agencies like Deendar Anjuman that masterminded the series of blasts at churches in southern States, communal peace has remained largely undisturbed. Indeed, with the Deendar Anjuman being exposed for what it is, the pseudo-secularists who have been conducting a campaign of calumny about "Christians being under attack from Hindu fundamentalists", also stand exposed. While committed to the protection of all sections of the people, the National Council urges the people to beware of divisive forces that are trying to disrupt communal harmony to malign the BJP and the NDA Government.
The Congress continues to play a negative role, both inside and outside Parliament. As the party continues to flounder like a rudderless boat, its leadership continues to take refuge behind non-issues or by raising issues that can only harm the national interest.
We deplore the Congress' demand for a judicial inquiry into the massacres by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. By raising a question mark over the identity of the killers, an identity of which the whole world is aware, the Congress has strengthened the hands of those behind the killings even while demoralising India's security forces. This demand of the Congress is of a piece with its highly deplorable utterances during the Kargil conflict when Congress leaders were busy rubbishing India's gains even while our soldiers were winning back peak after peak.
No less deplorable is the Congress turnaround on economic issues. After pursuing economic reforms and market economics while in power, the Congress now wants India to go back in time to the days of Licence-Permit-Quota Raj. After following a policy of disinvestment in public sector units and supporting the UF Government on this issue, the party now wants to reverse the reform process. The BJP is fully committed to unshackling the energies of the Indian people and utilising their potential for the utmost advantage of the India's nation.
In this dubious enterprise, the Left parties that continue to remain unmindful of their increasing irrelevance and marginalisation, doggedly back the Congress. The National Council draws the people's attention to Congress continuing to remain a partner of the RJD in Bihar even while the Laloo-Rabri duo continue with their total misrule and misappropriation of public monies. The blood of Bihar is as much on the hands of the Congress as on that of RJD.
We laud the Government's various initiatives to hasten social development as well as ensure political stability. The adoption of National Population Policy 2000 and the setting of the National Commission on Population as well as a National Population Stablisation Fund are steps in the right direction to tackle the problem of runaway population growth. We call upon all sections of society and all political parties to join this national effort so that social development goals can be achieved in a more equitable manner.
We also congratulate the Government for keeping its promise of creating three new States - Jharkhand, Uttaranchal and Chhattisgarh. We thank all political parties for their support in ensuring the smooth passage of the Statehood Bills in this regard. We call upon the Government to expedite follow-up action so that the popular expectations of the people of these three regions can be met and their rapid socio-economic development ensured.
In the past, several political parties had raised the issue of social justice. But for them it was nothing more than sloganeering. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes never got the full benefit of reservation in jobs because no clearance of backlog could be done beyond the 50 per cent ceiling imposed by the Supreme Court. The benefits of reservation were also denied because of certain stiff eligibility conditions. The constitution has now been amended to provide for waiving of this restrictions and for reservations in promotions.
Many political parties had promised to eliminate these obstacles. But it is the NDA Government that has kept its promise by introducing relevant constitutional amendments. The National Council calls upon the Union and State Governments to take time-bound steps to clear the backlog to fulfil the objectives of the constitutional amendments.
The Government has taken a bold decision to introduce necessary legislation to fulfil the people's right to information. This reflects the NDA's commitment to ensuring transparency in the functioning of Government and taking the people into confidence.
We express deep concern over increasing political violence in Bihar, Kerala and West Bengal and naxelite menace in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh etc. The manner in which the Left Front Government of West Bengal and Kerala have been misusing the State's administrative machinery and the muscle-power of its hoodlum brigade to suppress legitimate Opposition activities and influence electoral results, shows their desperation as well as disregard for democratic norms. The attacks by the Left Parties and their State machinery is no longer confined to the Trinamool Congress and BJP workers, and now extended to the media.
We demand that necessary steps be taken to ensure democracy prevails in West Bengal. We call upon all party workers in that State to resolutely stand firm in the face of the Left's assault and work towards the victory of the BJP-Trinamool Congress alliance in the coming State Assembly elections.
The National Council congratulates the Government for its continuing efforts to improve Centre-State relations and pursuing policies that are aimed at devolution of greater fiscal and administrative powers to State Governments. The key to strengthening the Union of India lies in making the States stronger without weakening the Centre.
Two important legislations that have been pending for some time do not merit further delay. We urge Government to expedite the Lokpal Bill and call upon all political parties to arrive at a consensus on the Women's Reservation Bill. Both are crucial to shaping India's polity and society in the coming decades. Simultaneously, comprehensive electoral reforms and constituency delimitation, without affecting the number of constituencies, need to be expedited.
We call upon Government to explore, with the cooperation of State Governments, the possibility of setting up Backward Areas Commission in each State to identify least developed areas and recommend comprehensive measures for their development. The reconstitution and expansion of the North-East Development Council has been pending for some time. The Council is crucial for the wholesome socio-economic development of the North-Eastern States. The restoration of normalcy in Mizoram and the willingness of Bodo militants to hold talks with Govt. is encouraging. The large scale surrender of ULFA activists in Assam is positive. This direction is relevant for some of the other North East states also. There is an urgent need to repeal I.M.D.T. Act in Assam. But not withstanding these developments there should be absolutely no lowering of guard in respect of militancy.
We also urge Government to consider a time-bound programme to link Ganga and Cauvery rivers. The Sethu Samudram canal project also needs to be considered for early action. The BJP has been championing these projects and we owe it to the people to fulfil our commitments to them.
The National Executive and the National Council recall the leadership and sacrifice of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee in his birth centenary year. We resolve to be guided by his vision and values. The BJP shall celebrate this year as the birth centenary year of Dr. Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and hold several programmes.
Next year, many States will be going to the polls to elect new Assemblies. The National Council calls upon party workers, supporters and sympathisers to begin preparations for these polls in right earnest. Let us resolve to ensure that the BJP continues to remain the leading party.
On the occasion of this National Council Meeting, which is yet another milestone in our party's history, we resolve to strengthen our organisation; reach out to all sections of society; enlarge our electoral base; strengthen the National Democratic Alliance; and, re-dedicate our party and our services to the people of India.