Address of Shri K. Jana Krishnamurthy National President, BJP
To the National Executive of Bharatiya Janata Party on 24th March, 2001 at Parliament Annexe, New Delhi
It is said that life is unpredictable. It is much more so in politics. By a strange twist of circumstances the smooth sailing ship of ours has been visited by a storm and I find myself to be entrusted with the responsibility of captaining the ship out of storm and steer it safely to the port.
When Tehelka.com tapes found their way in electronic media an unfortunate and unsubstantiated situation got created necessitating our president Shri Bangaru Laxman to step down from the post of Party President. I am aware that a few persons in the party did feel that he should not have resigned. But then his resignation letter of 13.3.2001 addressed to me which reached my hands by midnight that day had clearly stated - I quote' "I am ready to face a thorough enquiry into the matter which I am sure will clear my name. However, pending enquiry and in keeping with the high moral standards of the BJP I hereby offer to step down from the office of the president of the party. I have taken the decision after consulting the Prime Minister."
Under these circumstances the available Office-bearers who met on the 14th had no other option but to accept the resignation and asked me to shoulder the responsibility in his place. Being the senior most Vice-president of the Party I had to accept it for the party cannot afford to be headless. It is in these circumstances you find me addressing this august house today from the Chair of the President.
The seat of president of our party is like Vikramaditya's Sinhgasana. We have been told that even a cowherd who occupied the place where the Sinhgasana lay buried, rendered justice in a phenomenal manner. This seat also has been similarly blessed by illustrious leaders starting from Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, who was counted as one of the very few tallest leaders in our country on account of his intense patriotism unalloyed nationalism, integrity and intelligence and Pandit Deendayalji who was our friend, philosopher and guide. As BJP this seat has been adorned by such illustrious leaders as Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Shri Lal Krishna Advani and their successors. Although it may look bit incongruous that, I an ordinary Karyakarta of our party, has been brought up to this level, still it goes to strengthen the reputation that this party has acquired ever since its inception that this is a party of Karyakartas or to put it in political terminology a cadre based party. I have absolutely no hesitation to say that I will be quite at home with my new responsibility as I have grown with Shri Atalji, Shri Advaniji, Shri Kushabhau etc. and groomed by them for the past 35 years and more.
The very fact that you have entrusted the responsibility of party presidentship to me is proof positive that I enjoy your trust, confidence as well as your total cooperation in this great task of not only carrying this huge party of ours to its destined goal but also carrying the entire nation with us to its destined glory. I will be failing in my duty if I do not express my deep sense of gratitude and profound thanks to you for the unstinted support you have extended to me to-day and all these past years.
Friends, we have covered a long route ever since we started our political journey. We can look back with satisfaction that our journey has been on the right path, right direction and right leadership. We had our quota of obstacles, resistance, ridicule and rigorous opposition. We were reduced to simply two members in Parliament in 1984 and we are to-day 182 the largest single party. We were described as a party which was getting isolated in Indian politics till midway through 1980s and today we find that those who tried to isolate us have become isolated. Twenty years back when we founded BJP our objective was to emerge as an alternative to the then ruling party. But today our vision has been enlarged to see that 21st century becomes Bharat's Century. Our objective also has become much more focussed and clear that it is our endeavour to see that India gets recognised as an Asian Power playing its due role in international community in the next few years. We will have to live up to this vision and objective.
We stand by our commitment to National Democratic Alliance. Its emergence is due to demand of time. BJP will go all out under the leadership of Shri Atalji to make it a success. BJP desires that all of us in NDA should adhere to the Dharma of coalition. I appeal to every one that as we have all pledged ourselves to be bound by a common accepted Agenda of governance on which basis we sought and got the mandate of the people the same should be adhered to and no discordant voice should be heard from any quarter. When difference of opinion and moments of friction are found some times even within a party it is not a matter of surprise that some such things are seen in multiparty association like NDA. Mutual trust, mutual understanding and mutual adjustment and mutual friendship born out of these with ultimate objective of serving the best interests of the nation can provide the necessary lubricant to keep the NDA moving with frictionless smoothness.
Communists in the country have been functioning with their feet in the country and their head outside. Time and political tide have eroded their base in several parts of our country. Their bastion in West Bengal and Kerala are about to fall due to their own governmental follies, political irrelevance and organisational fissures. BJP is determined to see that both in Kerala and West Bengal the leftist government gets defeated at the hands of electorate in the forthcoming elections. Our strategy in those two states shall be to secure the twin objectives of ending Marxist rule so that the interest of the people of the states gets best served and seeking the best interest of our party.
We are also facing assembly elections in three other states of Tamilnadu, Pondicherry and Assam. Our state units in these two states of Tamilnadu and Pondicherry as part of alliance of NDA partners are entering into a mutually satisfactory understanding with their allies. We are confident that our alliance will succeed in these states by receiving the mandate of the people.
In Assam our state unit is going ahead to contest maximum number of seats which can well respond to our party's electoral call. It is a very sensitive state and our electoral strategy should be such as to secure the best interests of Assam as well as our party. I am happy to note that our Assam unit is working on these lines.
Congress Party, the main opposition in our country does not seem to have learnt the lesson, which the electorate of India taught them in the last midterm poll in 1999. The party which should function with a sense of responsibility as an opposition in a democracy has chosen to play a negative role both inside and outside parliament. It has allowed itself to be overcome by despondency and hence has become desperate. Blind opposition, intense hatred for BJP, unbridled ambition for power, irresponsible leadership, which flouts with impunity democratic norms and traditions, have become hallmarks of Congress Party. BJP's total commitment to democracy is well known. Even as our country is a living democracy our party is practicing democracy. Hence we are worried that the opposition party is not playing the role the democracy demands.
The hysterical reaction of that Party's President to the Tehelka.com allegations does not behove a responsible leader of a responsible opposition party. Allegations have been made and they are yet to be proved. The natural reaction and demand of that party and its president should be a thorough probe and to punish the persons whoever he or she may be if found guilty. The democratic response to the situation ought to be a challenging debate in Parliament. This is what country expected and this is what democrats in the country looked forward to. But a Democratic Party true to fascist demand says 'we demand-you get out'-Has such a demand any place in democracy? Whenever a scam surfaced during Congress rule the opposition placed the demand for a probe but ruling Congress with its majority rejected it. But the NDA Government is ready for debate and probe and strangely the Congress rejects it. It says that Government should resign and then only probe is possible.
The law of the land says that none is guilty till he is found guilty through due process of law. Here under Congress rule of law it is just the reverse. Those whom they accuse are guilty and they should be punished. If we were to ask where is the proof they will turn round and say that the very fact they have been punished proves the guilt. It reminds me of a story, which I have read years ago.
A person boasted that he has killed a tiger. People suspect his claim. They asked where exactly he killed the tiger. He said he killed it under a tree. Which is the place they asked? He pointed to the tree and said that there is the standing proof.
Friends, I congratulate our Prime Minister and the NDA Government for having decided to go in for a thorough probe by a sitting or retired Supreme Court Judge. It is as it should be. BJP desires that every aspect of the Tehelka.com matter should be thoroughly probed and truth brought out. The guilty should be punished.
We were all greatly saddened and pained that a situation has arisen where Shri Bangaru Laxman had to submit his resignation. Our opponents have sought to create such a situation that doubt is sought to be created about the credibility of our leadership. Shri Bangaru Laxman true to the tradition of the party lost no time to respond to the situation by resigning his post of presidentship and has made himself available for an impartial enquiry. All of us look forward to the day which may be sooner than later to see that Shri Bangaru stands vindicated and found as an innocent victim caught in a web of conspiracy. I can assure that once he comes out of this Agni Pariskha and again his services become available, his services are sure to be utilised fully befitting his personality and in the best interests of the party.
The government has gone in for second generation reforms. The budget has, contrary to expectations, been welcomed by all. There is bound to be some criticism from some quarters or other. This is natural, as no budget is perfect budget. Every budget has to take into account the ground realities of the year and the short term and long-term needs of the country. For the first time an attempt has been made to keep the long-term needs of the country in mind while framing the budget. We congratulate the government and the Finance Minister for his bold approach.
The reduction of interest rate for deposits by one and half percent investment although done to prod greater investment by a lower lending interest rate has caused some resentment by small depositors. In a democracy it becomes necessary for the government to carry as large sections of people as possible with it. Hence our request to the government is to see whether the affected sections can in any manner be made to feel at ease with the budget proposals of the Government.
We have overcome many an obstacle in our path of progress. We are yet to reach our everest. We may face ordeals in our onward march. Tenzing Norke had stated that it is the last 100 meters of his Everest climb that has been most difficult. Let us all bear this in mind. We will have to make NDA strong. For that it is imperative that we make BJP much stronger than what it is today.
We have faced many a crisis in our political journey. Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee's death within two years of founding of BJS, the midnight murder of Pt. Deendayalji when we were forging ahead, the emergency we faced in 1975 whereby our leaders and tens of thousands of our cadre were thrown behind bars not knowing when they will come out, coming out of Janata Party and starting BJP from scratch and getting reduced to two in Lok Sabha in 1984 are some of the crises which we faced and surmounted with grit and determination. The recent tehelka.com also is aimed at us to seriously damage our party. But with the inspiring leadership of Shri Atalji and other illustrious leaders of our party, with lakhs of our dedicated Karyakartas of our party and with the huge support we enjoy from the people of this country I am sure we will come out of this ordeal very soon with our opponent vanquished. With faith in our cause, faith in ourselves, faith in our leadership and faith in our destined goal let us together determine to carry our flag to every nook and corner of our country, to every section of our society and to every heart and hearth in the country.
Integrity in personal and public life, transparency in our organisational functioning, unity of purpose, of mind and of action, dedication to the cause with unswerving loyalty, a mission to make 21st century as Bharat's Century a vision of integration of the entire Indian society-have long been the identity of our Party. Let us all realise it and bring it under sharper focus.