BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY Meeting of the National Executive
Mumbai - June 22-24, 2004
The National Executive of the Bharatiya Janata Party, meeting for the first time since the conclusion of the elections to the 14th Lok Sabha and the formation of the Congress-led Government at the Centre, discussed the current political situation in the country. It adopted the following resolution.
Elections to the 14th Lok Sabha will be remembered for yielding two notable outcomes: one of the most fractured and indecisive mandate till date, and the emergence of the first Congress-led coalition government that marks a victory for the regressive forces in our political system and portends to push the country back into the vortex of instability and unforeseeable negative developments.
The Bharatiya Janata Party accepts with humility the people's verdict. The verdict requires that the BJP and the NDA play the role of a constructive and responsible opposition. Our Party and alliance suffered an unexpected setback in the polls, contrary to the expectations and assessments of one and all, including those who are in government today. All the pre-poll election surveys, all the exit polls, and the analyses of almost all seasoned observers of the Indian political scene had forecast that the National Democratic Alliance government, under the able leadership of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, would get a renewed mandate. However, the people decided otherwise.
The National Executive extends its sincere thanks to the electorate for their support to the Party. We are especially grateful to the people of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Orissa, Punjab, Uttaranchal and Arunachal Pradesh for electing BJP candidates in large numbers. We thank the people of Orissa for re-electing the BJD-BJP alliance in the Assembly elections. We also thank the people of Karnataka for making the BJP, for the first time, the largest party in the Legislative Assembly.
The National Executive places on record its deepest appreciation for the inspiring and visionary leadership provided by Shri Atalji during his tenure as India's Prime Minister for six long years. The BJP considers these six years of governance at the Centre as a proud milestone in the Party's future-focussed journey.
In what will be recorded in history as a valuable contribution to the maturing of Indian democracy, Shri Atalji demonstrated that a non-Congress coalition could govern our country in a stable and successful way. Our government has left behind a proud and abiding legacy of achievements in every area of national life - security, economic growth, infrastructure development, social sector development, information technology, political reforms, governance and international relations. India is stronger, more prosperous and more self-confident nation than ever before.
The National Executive expresses its gratitude to Shri Atalji, under whose leadership we went to the polls, for the inspiration and guidance he provided to the Party at all stages of the electoral battle. Both he and Shri Advaniji set personal examples for lakhs of our karyakartas by undertaking highly grueling responsibilities in the election campaign.
The BJP views its electoral setback seriously. It is now evident that our pre-election assessment and expectation did not in many ways conform to the realities on the ground. We were unable to see the negative trends in several major States and take corrective action in a timely manner. We were also unable, in many States, to transform the enormous goodwill and support we enjoyed into votes in our favour. The Party has constituted a committee to conduct a comprehensive review of all aspects of our electoral performance and also make recommendations for a plan of action for the future. This review will be carried out with the widest possible participation of Party functionaries, workers and well-wishers at all levels. By initiating a Party-wide dialogue in a structured manner, we shall convert the exercise of election review into an opportunity for thousands of our devoted and hard-working karyakartas to introspect, speak up and rededicate themselves to the cause of the Party.
The National Executive views the formation of the Congress-led government, with outside support from the Left and other parties, as a regressive development in the life of our Republic. It is of course natural in a parliamentary democracy for any pre-poll or post-poll alliance to form the government once it is able to muster adequate numerical support. However, what is disturbing is the wanton and self-serving way in which the Congress has been misinterpreting and misprojecting the people's mandate, and has been building the edifice of the new government on this deliberate distortion. Its claim that the people have given a mandate for the Congress party is completely ill-founded. Sheer numbers puncture this claim. Indeed, in many Congress-ruled States, it has either been routed or fared badly.
The claim of the ruling United Progressive Alliance, as stated both in its Common Minimum Programme and in the President's Address to the Joint Houses of Parliament, that the mandate is for "secular forces" is bogus. The so-called "secular forces", who are actually pseudo-secular and anti-secular forces, never fought the elections together on a common platform of "secularism". Indeed, they fought against each other. Two of the parties engaged in competitive pseudo-secularism - the Congress and the Samajwadi Party, which has pledged outside support to the UPA government - are already on a confrontation course in UP. Several constituents of the UPA, or its supporting parties, were indeed a part of the NDA or had shared power with the BJP at the State-level.
In Karnataka, the Congress and the Janata Dal(S) fought against each other in the recent Assembly elections. The Janata Dal (S) promised to set up a special court to try the cases of corruption against the Chief Minister and several ministers in the previous Congress government. The Congress lost the mandate in the elections. Nevertheless, the Congress and the JD(S) have formed an unholy coalition government in the State, which has the same ministers against whom the JD(S) had threatened to take action. This too is done in the name of "defence of secularism".
Congress party's perversion of the principle of secularism is evident most starkly in its shocking decision to induct a member of the Muslim League, a rank communal party, into the Union Council of Ministers. For the for the first time in independent India, a party responsible for the partition of India has been given representation in the Central Government in the name of "secular solidarity".
Under the compulsion of maintaining "secular solidarity", the Congress party has compromised the very sanctity of the Government of India by inducting several persons with well-recorded involvement in heinous crimes into the Council of Ministers. Far from contributing to the fight against the menace of criminalisation of politics, the Congress party has blemished the Indian Republic by criminalizing governance at the Centre. The BJP, along with its allies in the NDA, has launched a campaign demanding the removal of tainted ministers. This campaign will be intensified. The BJP demands that Parliament pass an effective law for barring persons who are chargesheeted in cases of heinous crimes from contesting elections and holding offices in public life.
The Congress party has also blemished the system of governance by creating two power centers, in which Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh plays second fiddle to the "Super Prime Minister", Shrimati Sonia Gandhi. For the first time in our country's history, we do not have an elected Prime Minister, but a selected Prime Minister bereft of real authority. The Congress party and its allies are systematically diluting the dignity and honour of the office of the Prime Minister. A clear case of the negation of the Prime Minister's prerogative to form his own government was the so-called "MoU" signed between Dr. M. Karunanidhi, president of the DMK, and an emissary of the Congress party, on which DMK representative would get what portfolio.
The BJP wishes to alert the entire political class in this country that the belittling of the high office of the Prime Minister, and the emergence an extra-constitutional power centre in the person of the Congress president, and the new phase of the Congress party's craven surrender, yet again, to dynasticism are ominous developments in our democracy.
The BJP views with much concern the rise of the Communists as the third power centre in the new ruling establishment. It is now clear that, although the UPA is numerically led by the Congress party, it is ideologically and programmatically led from outside by the CPI(M), which also holds the veto power and the rope to the guillotine. The West Bengal Chief Minister Shri Buddhadeb Bhattacharya was not letting out any state secret when he publicly stated that "the new government will stand up when we ask it to stand up, and sit down when we ask it to sit down". With only 63 seats, the Left parties should not nurse the delusion that they can hijack the people's mandate.
The lack of cohesion in the new ruling establishment has become clear from Day One. The External Affairs Minister has been making offhand statements on important policy issues, reportedly without consultation with the Prime Minister or within the Cabinet Committee on Security, in ways that have embarrassed both the government and the country. The Civil Aviation Minister made a policy statement, against which a politburo member of the CPI(M) sat on dharna in front of the minister's office. The Human Resources Development Minister made a statement on FDI in education, which was immediately condemned by the Left parties. Again, Left leaders made certain statements on the government's economic policies, which caused a massive meltdown in the capital markets and scared away investors, forcing both the Prime Minister and the Finance Ministers to get involved in damage control. This is a government in which the Minister of Ocean Development makes statement on Ayodhya, and the Minister of Railways makes statements on Godhra.
The BJP voices its alarm at the deliberate omission of any mention in the CMP of either the menace of cross-border terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir and in other parts of the country, or the danger of large-scale infiltration from Bangladesh. The relentless rise of anti-India jehadi forces in Bangladesh, who are actively aiding extremist elements in our North-Eastern region, is a matter of deep concern for us. In his very first pronouncement on the issue of infiltration, the new Home Minister dismissed it as a "human problem". The BJP reiterates its demand for the repeal of the IMDT Act in Assam. The Party condemns the UPA government's decision to repeal POTA. It is shocking that certain pseudo-secular parties in the UPA have been defending terrorists and anti-nationals involved in the failed assassination attempt on Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi, in the name of human rights. The BJP cautions that the threat of terrorism should not be downplayed, nor politicized. The National Executive resolves to launch a nationwide mass awareness campaign about the Congress-led government's soft-peddling of the issue of terrorism and infiltration. The BJP will act as the watchdog of national security.
The NDA government left behind a legacy of one of the fastest growing economies in the world. This has been grudgingly acknowledged even by some ministers in the new government. This growth momentum is today threatened by a retrograde thinking process. The BJP condemns the recent ad-hoc price hike in petroleum products, especially LPG, and the steep hike in the prices of coal. These are bound to have a cascading effect on the price situation, causing the prices of essential commodities to rise across the board.
The BJP will keep a close watch on the implementation of the CMP, especially the promises made to the unemployed youth and kisans. Our MPs will forcefully put forward our Party's point of view on all aspects of the government's functioning, both inside and outside Parliament. The BJP has the patience to sit in the opposition for five years. However, the new government has all the birthmarks that raise doubts about the longevity of the government. This rickety ruling establishment cannot hide its internal contradictions, compulsions and compromises.
The National Executive expresses deep concern over the daily cases of suicide of farmers in Andhra Pradesh. These expose the hollowness of the promises made by the Congress government in the State. We are equally concerned about starvation deaths of adivasis in West Bengal. After being in power for 27 years, the Communists have become so apathetic to the plight of the poor that one of its ministers had the audacity to brush aside this tragedy by stating publicly that Adivasis could survive by eating "snakes, rats and toads"! The BJP condemns this insensitive statement.
The BJP demands that the new government immediately introduce a bill for women's reservation in Parliament and State Legislatures. We also demand that the river-linking project be started in right earnest.
The National Executive resolves to energise the Party at all levels so as to meet both immediate-term and long-term challenges. Notwithstanding the setback in Parliamentary elections, our Party continues to enjoy enormous goodwill among the people of our country. As we have so often done in the past, we shall certainly overcome the present setback - and we shall come back.
Specifically, the National Executive directs the Party units at all levels to focus on five tasks:
1: Rededication to ideology and idealism.
2: Redoubled commitment to development issues, especially those concerning farmers, the rural poor, the unorganized urban poor, unemployed youth and women.
3: Energising the Party by overcoming organizational shortcomings, especially in States that are facing the next round of Assembly elections.
4: Steadily expanding the Party's appeal in new geographical areas and social sections, especially among the SCs, STs and backward classes.
5: Vigorously exposing the contradictions, compromises, compulsions and failures of the Congress-led government at the Centre.