Bharatiya Janata Party
Rajat Jayanti Nagar
28th - 30th December, 2005
The Bharatiya Janata Party was formed on April 6, 1980 to uphold cultural nationalism, reinvigorate public life and nurture democracy. In the 25 years of its existence, the BJP has put nationalist politics at the centre stage, broken the political and ideological stranglehold of the Congress and the Left and contributed to a paradigm shift in Indian politics.
The BJP was established in the backdrop of a public disenchantment with the country's first non-Congress experiment at the Centre. Although the party's influence was modest at the time of inception, the BJP epitomised the hopes and expectations of people who wanted a clean break from Congress misrule and the corresponding decline in the quality of public life. The BJP offered a new hope to the people of India.
It is the qualitative difference of the BJP which enabled it to fill the void left by the end of decades of one-party dominance. The BJP stands for principles; it is rooted in the ideology of nationalism. These attributes and the selfless dedication of lakhs of party workers has enabled it to grow socially and geographically all over India. The BJP has taken up issues and causes that touch a chord in the soul of India. To millions of Indians exasperated by a spurious consensus, the BJP is a refreshing change. Public support and the commitment to change have nurtured the party. The BJP is more than another political party; it is also a movement.
The high point of the BJP's 25-year journey was the election of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee as Prime Minister in 1998 and the formation of the National Democratic Alliance. Accompanied by phenomenal goodwill and dizzying expectations, the BJP, as the driving force of the NDA Government, put India on the road to becoming a proud, self-confident and vibrant global power. The BJP helped unleash India's true potential.
The BJP is proud of its record in government at the Centre. The party takes pride in the inspired leadership offered by Shri Vajpayee and Shri L.K. Advani.
The NDA, unfortunately, lost the general election of 2004. A difference of only seven seats displaced the BJP as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha. For the Congress, this jump into office was a totally unexpected boon. This was a setback but it has not eroded the BJP's position as the premier democratic organisation others being family concerns.
It is for this reason that the country and our citizens continue to have very high expectations of the BJP, more than any other party. The party must constantly strive to live up to the country's expectations.
On this occasion of the party's Silver Jubilee, the BJP rededicates itself to the service of the country, reaffirming its commitment to the politics of principles and rectifying shortcomings constantly. The BJP will conduct public life as a mission of dedicated service.
The need to emphasise the quality of public life is pressing. Since it assumed power in May 2004, the Congress has used the machinery of the government to either gloss over or attempt to whitewash brazen acts of corruption. It was a matter of national dishonour that the Congress Party and the External Affairs Minister of India were named as a non-contractual beneficiaries in an international oil scandal by a UN-sponsored inquiry. It took a wave of public outrage, repeated media disclosures and pressure from the BJP for the government to act, grudgingly. At the same time, the government ensured that the inquiry body to probe the charges by the Paul Volcker Committee report lacks the requisite authority to probe the charges overseas.
The BJP expresses its deep concern at the rampant use of foreign money to influence government decisions. The Oil for Food scandal is only one example of this subversion of national interests. The publication of the Mitrokhin Archive earlier this year revealed the shameful history of Congress and Communist sell-out of national security for money. The Mitrokhin Archive is a British Government-sponsored publication and provides only a small glimpse of the KGB-inspired subversion. The Government and the Left have prevented any parliamentary discussion on the subject. The BJP demands that the Government puts diplomatic pressure on the British Government to gain full access to the relevant sections of the Mitrokhin papers.
The stonewalling of the UPA on the Volcker report and the Mitrokhin revelations can be contrasted with the alacrity of the Congress to act in the Cash for Questions scandal involving 11 MPs. The BJP unreservedly expresses its regret over the involvement of some of its elected representatives. Such people have no place in parliamentary democracy. At the same time, the party is concerned that short-circuiting disciplinary procedures could open the floodgates of political vendetta.
Anti-corruption cannot be selective. The Government cannot pretend to be on a moral high as long as it persists with scam-tainted ministers in the Union Council of Ministers.
The past 17 months has witnessed shameful attempts by the UPA Government to compromise national interests for partisan gains. Its incompetence in upholding national security has led to the phenomenal increase in ultra-Left violence throughout the country. The jailbreak in Jehanabad and the incident in the Madhuban block in Bihar show that Naxalite groups are operating with reckless impunity. The Naxalites aim at establishing a red corridor from Nepal to Andhra Pradesh. The UPA lacks any consistent policy to deal with the extremist menace. The Government even flirts with the Maoists in neighbouring Nepal.
This short-sightedness is proving costly for the nation. In Assam, the Congress Government is turning a blind eye to a sinister bid to create tension between Karbis and Dimasas in Karbi Anglong who have lived in peace and amity for centuries. The Congress Government in Assam has colluded with the perpetrators of these assaults on the nation's integrity. The UPA Government meanwhile seems completely unconcerned with the continuing illegal migration of Bangladesh nationals into the whole of eastern India.
Crimes against women have increased since the UPA assumed power. Of particular concern is the growing number of rapes in trains.
The Congress has reverted to its age-old ploy of minorityism and vote-bank politics. The 104th Constitution Amendment spares minority institutions from the obligation of reserving seats for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs. The BJP demands that reservations must be universal. By creating a majority-minority schism, the Government is creating a social schism.
The UPA Government is persisting with its policy of playing havoc with education. Its so-called de-toxification programme has led to serious distortions in the school and university curricula. The BJP will fight against all attempts to present a distorted picture of Indian nationhood to the youth of the country.
The involvement of the Left in the decision-making of the UPA Government has produced major distortion in the country's governance. The Left wants the best of both worlds and exercises power without responsibility. It snarls selectively at the government but will not bite. It is guilty of duplicity.
The Left has not been known for its commitment to democratic institutions. Along with the Congress and RJD, it played a shameful role in trying to put obstacles in the path of the Election Commission in Bihar. The BJP compliments the EC for conducting a peaceful, free and fair election in Bihar. It urges the EC to take a similar tough stand in West Bengal where democracy has been systematically undermined by the scientific rigging of the Left.
The BJP calls on all nationalist and democratic forces to join hands and unitedly fight the Left in the forthcoming Assembly election. The recent election in Bihar demonstrated that a determined and united opposition to political waywardness and misrule can earn the confidence of the people.
The BJP is mindful of its obligation to play the role of an effective opposition at the Centre. Along with its NDA partners, it will be relentless in exposing the misdeeds of the UPA and opposing dynastic politics. In states where it is in government, the BJP will strive to give the people the benefits of good governance.
The coming months present challenges and opportunities to the BJP. The ramshackle UPA is riddled with internal contradictions and lacks coherence. The NDA exists as the government-in-waiting. The BJP must be mindful of its future responsibilities, act unitedly and purposefully to gain popular confidence and recover all lost ground. There is a reservoir of goodwill for the party which has to be effectively tapped through principled politics and exemplary personal conduct.
The 25-year history of the party is a lesson of the way forward. This Silver Jubilee convention resolves to rededicate itself to working incessantly for making India a prosperous and powerful nation based on cultural nationalism, integral humanism and value-based politics.