Bharatiya Janata Party Meeting of the National Council New Delhi - October 27, 2004
This meeting of the National Council of the Bharatiya Janata Party is taking place at a time when the Party has elected a new President. Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu resigned from the presidentship of the Party on October 18. In a meeting of the office bearers and available members of the National Executive on the same day, Shri Naidu's resignation was accepted and Shri L.K. Advani was appointed as the new President of the BJP. This decision has been unanimously endorsed by the National Council at its meeting today.
The National Council places on record the Party's sincere appreciation of the leadership provided by Shri Naidu since his election as the President of the BJP at the Council's last meeting held in July 2002. With his hard work and constant mobility, he imparted much dynamism to the activities of the Party at all levels. His focus on teamwork and his emphasis on reaching out to the karyakartas and, through them, to the people energised the Party organisation.
The National Council is confident that under the presidentship of Shri Advaniji, the BJP will successfully overcome the many challenges facing the Party today. During his previous two stints as the Party chief, the BJP grew rapidly from being a marginal party to emerge as one of the two principal poles in national politics. He brought about a paradigm shift in India's polity by mounting a spirited mass campaign against pseudo-secularism. In his new task, Shri Advaniji will be ably assisted by our Party's many highly talented and experienced functionaries belonging to the younger generation. He and his team of office bearers will have at their command a vast army of dedicated karyakartas ready to do battle for the BJP's goals. Above all, the entire Party will continue to have valuable margdarshan (guidance) from Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the founder of our Party and India's most respected elder statesman.
All these strengths, combined with the immense trust, goodwill and support that the BJP enjoys all across the country, will undoubtedly enable the BJP to surmount the challenges before it and to stage a comeback.
The National Council views the present political situation in the country with serious concern. The Congress-led UPA government was the outcome of a fractured mandate that the people gave in the elections to the 14th Lok Sabha. Respecting the wishes of the people, the UPA should have followed a responsible course of coalition statecraft, concentrating on good governance and seeking maximum cooperation from the opposition. The government, however, has chosen an exactly opposite course -- one of confrontation and vendetta against the BJP and the rest of the opposition. In the process, it is making a mess of governance, which is its primary duty.
Internal security imperiled: The UPA government is certainly the worst since Independence judged by its performance in the crucial area of internal security. On the one hand, it is proving to be clueless about how to deal with extremist violence in the North-East, while addressing the genuine problems and aspirations of the people with understanding and sensitivity. On the other, it has, purely for vote-bank considerations, turned a blind eye to large-scale infiltration of Bangladeshis. This demographic invasion, if unchecked, will render every other problem in the region intractable. Future generations of Indians will not forgive the Congress and the Communists for deliberately ignoring this grave threat to our national security and national integrity.
The National Council demands that the UPA government send a strong message to the present government in Bangladesh not to harbour anti-India extremist outfits on its soil and to cooperate with India in stopping the infiltration of its nationals into our country.
Similarly, the Congress party is playing with fire by allowing its government in Andhra Pradesh first to lift the ban on the PWG and then to conduct "unconditional" talks with the naxalites, who have killed more than 6,000 innocent people and political adversaries in AP alone. The naxalites' insistence on not surrendering their arms has exposed the inherent weakness of the Congress government in spite of commanding nearly three-fourths majority in the state Assembly.
The BJP urges the UPA government not to overlook either the murderous campaign of Maoists in neighbouring Nepal or their systematic efforts to create a 'red-corridor' from neighbouring Nepal to Andhra Pradesh. It is ominous, though hardly surprising that even as they were engaged in sham "peace" talks in Hyderabad, the naxalites were busy blowing up a government office and a railway station in Jharkhand.
Continuing the good work initiated by the NDA government, the UPA government must implement a coordinated strategy involving the Centre and all the naxal-affected states to end the menace of naxalism. Simultaneously, all development schemes and poverty-alleviation programmes in naxal-affected areas should be effectively and expeditiously implemented with people's participation. The National Council urges the UPA government, as a first step, to immediately convene an all-party meeting on how to deal with naxal extremism.
The recent discovery of a huge stock of "live bombs", hidden in scrap metal imported mainly from Gulf countries, is evidence of a serious breach of security. The National Council demands a comprehensive probe into this development to ascertain if it is a part of some anti-national conspiracy.
UPA govt has lowered its guard against cross-border terrorism: The BJP is of the view that India's ongoing dialogue with Pakistan should continue. However, the government must not lower its guard against cross-border terrorism, whose base and infrastructure in Pakistan continues to be intact. In this context, the Party voices its concern over the absence of an explicit reference to "cross-border terrorism" in the joint press statement issued after Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's recent meeting with the Pakistani President. Gen. Pervez Musharraf.
The BJP is deeply concerned that the momentum for peace and normalcy in Jammu & Kashmir, which had picked up during the NDA government, has run aground. The last five months have witnessed four assassination attempts on the state chief minister, the last one having taken place on the same day that Dr. Manmohan Singh was holding talks with Gen. Musharraf in New York. Only three days ago, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, the former chief minister of J&K, and Shri Omar Abdullah, president of the National Conference, survived a deadly terrorist attack. As many as 51 political activists have been assassinated by terrorists so far this year.
The National Council demands that the UPA government end its callous neglect of the phenomenon of "refugee-isation" of Kashmiri Pandits in their own country. The Party also reiterates its demand to immediately set up Autonomous Regional Councils for Jammu and Ladakh with adequate financial and administrative powers.
Economy is hurt by policy chaos and veto-holding Communists: The BJP National Council is distressed to note that within less than six months of assuming office, the UPA government has disrupted the growth momentum in the economy, which was achieved by the Vajpayee government. Inflation, which was around 4% during the NDA rule, has nearly doubled to levels that are the highest among important emerging economies. Interest rates, which had dipped to record lows during the NDA rule, have risen. If not corrected, these will push many sectors like housing, auto, construction and manufacturing (which was on a revival path) into recession. The middle classes are anguished that their savings are being eroded with bank deposit rates a good 2% below inflation. The abrupt withdrawal of tax-free saving schemes and reduction in tax benefits has further eroded their incomes. As a result, it has become a losing proposition for the middle classes to put their hard-earned savings in bank deposits.
The UPA government's abject failure to formulate a coherent economic policy and to implement it resolutely is because, for the first time since Independence, the Congress has allowed the Communists to do backseat driving at the Centre. They are arrogantly using their veto card on practically every important economic policy or decision of the government. This has not only undermined the prestige of the government but also vitiated the investment climate.
The BJP expresses deep concern at the fall in agricultural production this year. The National Council demands urgent and effective action by the Centre and the respective state governments to end the plight of poor farmers and weavers in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, where many of them have committed suicide.
The UPA government's non-performance is also evident in the sudden deceleration in the implementation of the various infrastructure development initiatives taken by the NDA government. After many decades of criminal neglect by previous Congress governments, infrastructure development in power, railways, ports, highways and rural roads had been considerably speeded up under the Vajpayee regime. Progress in these has all but come to a stop now. The NDA government's ambitious river-linking project has been given a burial.
Hollowness of the Congress promise to Aam Aadami: The National Council expresses grave concern at the spiralling inflation and unprecedented rise in the prices of all essential commodities. The relief that the common man had experienced on the price front during six years of the NDA government has suddenly turned into daily disquiet. The Congress Party's election slogan, 'Congress ka haath, aam aadami ke saath' has proven as hollow as the party's earlier slogan of 'Garibi Hatao'. The National Council calls upon Party units to mobilise the people to protest against price rise and to demand urgent remedial action by the government.
In view of the steep hike in India's oil import bill, the BJP urges the government to speedily promote the production of bio-diesel and ethanol, a measure that will also help our kisans. The government should also incentivise adoption of energy-efficient technologies. The BJP feels that energy security should be made into a national mission.
Relief needed to ease states' problem of resource-crunch: The BJP recognises that the steadily worsening fiscal situation of almost all state governments is a major hurdle to India's speedy development. Many factors have contributed to the mounting problem of resource crunch faced by states. The NDA government had taken several steps to alleviate these problems. The National Council urges the Central government to seriously consider a one-time waiver of all the old debts incurred by state governments. The Party urges the Centre to remove restrictions on states to raise non-budgetary finances for development projects that are commercially viable.
The BJP, and all the BJP-ruled state governments, shall soon write to the 12th Finance Commission to raise the states' share in the Central pool of tax revenue to 35%. The BJP is also of the firm view that the Finance Commission should allocate a separate, dedicated stream of at least 5% of Central resources directly to Panchayati Raj Institutions.
Resist ideological offensive against the Party: Differences in policies and perspectives among parties is natural in a multi-party democracy. To respect each other's viewpoints, and to work together in spite of differences for the common good of the nation, is the quintessence of democracy. Ideological intolerance and misuse of governmental power against one's ideological opponents is therefore fundamentally undemocratic. The Congress party and the communists, however, have chosen this dangerous path with a zealotry unknown in the annals of Indian politics.
The sacking of governors appointed by the NDA government'; the re-falsification of NCERT text books; the insult to Veer Savarkar; imprisonment of Uma Bharati in the Tiranga case; the sacking of the chairman of the Censor Board, under pressure from the CPI(M) general secretary, for allegedly being pro-RSS; Prasar Bharati's crude attempts to enforce cuts in the film on Jayaprakash Narayan; the HRD Minister's open call to dismiss government officers and employees allegedly sympathetic to the BJP and the RSS; and a systematic attempt to discredit the achievements of the NDA government under the visionary leadership of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee -- all these attest to a perverted mindset which will gravely harm India's democratic system. The danger is all the more since most of these actions are guided solely by the pseudo-secular parties' desperate strategies to consolidate their minority vote-banks. This is also clearly evident in the government's decision to repeal POTA and to institute a new inquiry into the Godhra carnage, whose sole purpose seems to be to establish that the kar sevaks themselves somehow torched the train from inside and burnt themselves alive in order to provoke communal riots in the state.
The National Council cautions the people that, through their ideological offensive against the BJP for short-term goals, the Congress and the communist parties are actually undermining India's unity, integrity, security and her democratic system. It also mandates every Party unit, from top to bottom, to organise agitational and awareness-creation campaigns to counter the ideological assault on the Party and its ideology.
National Council's clarion call: When the Congress stitched up the UPA after the last parliamentary elections, it had all the birthmarks of an unstable and opportunist coalition. The new alliance had an opportunity to try to overcome the infirmities with which it was born if it had chosen to follow an honest approach, informed by a democratic ethos and commitment to good governance. After all, the NDA government, under the leadership of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, showed how this is indeed possible. The UPA government, however, is blowing the opportunity with each passing month. Its guilt of non-performance has been compounded by its sin of vendetta against its political and ideological opponents.
The people's disillusionment is growing. Disillusionment will inevitably turn into disenchantment and intense dislike. In this situation, the role of the BJP is clear. The National Council resolves that the Party use every democratic means available -- both inside and outside Parliament, both alone and in cooperation with its allies in the NDA -- to oppose a government that is weakening India's security, has declared nationalist ideology and its adherents as its enemies, neglected people's problems and aspirations, given governance a go-by and is proving to be a failure on one front after another.