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BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY
Meeting of the National Executive
To Mark the Party's Rajat Jayanti
Presidential Remarks by Shri L.K. Advani
New Delhi : April 5, 2005


I am pleased to welcome you all to this meeting of the National Executive, which is being held on the eve of the Sthapana Divas of the Bharatiya Janata Party. But this is not an ordinary Sthapana Divas; it is the Rajat Jayanti of our Party. Hence, we planned this meeting of the National Executive in such a way that it dovetails into tomorrow's historic special session of the National Council.

We have two draft resolutions for the consideration of the National Executive. One of them, as is customary, encapsulates the Party's stand on salient issues and developments that have dominated the national scene during the period between the last and this sitting of the National Executive. And as you'll see from the draft, it covers a fairly wide range of issues, attesting to the fact that this period has been truly eventful.

But it is the other resolution that holds a special significance for all of us. It is aptly titled: "Celebrate the Party's Rajat Jayanti with Pride and Resolve." By adopting it, we'll be performing a sacred duty of extending our grateful tributes to all those - both those who are no more with us and those who are still with us - who distinguished themselves with their dedicated and lifelong service to the Party.

The operative part of this resolution - namely, the resolve to strengthen the Party ideologically, politically and organizationally - has been fleshed out in a separate plan of activities proposed to be taken up during the course of the Rajat Jayanti year. This will be presented before the National Executive for discussion and adoption.

Friends,

The mosaic of political developments changes constantly, bringing in new news-making issues and players on the national scene, month after month and year after year. It is often difficult to glean, from a close range, a pattern or a defining direction in these developments. However, when we view them with the benefit of a 25-year perspective, they reveal some broad underlying truths.

The most important of these truths, as far as politics in India is concerned, is that until 1980 anti-Congressism was the main axis around which all the political developments and strategies of those days revolved. In sharp contrast, in 2005 we see anti-BJPism as the main axis around which contemporary political events are moving. Thus, the BJP has succeeded in demolishing the one-party supremacy of the Congress and transforming Indian polity into a bi-polar formation. What is more, the BJP is clearly the stronger of the two poles in terms of ideological distinctiveness, organizational muscle and commitment to the basic values of democracy.

The unexpected setback that we received in the Lok Sabha elections last year does not in the least negate this truth. We shall learn the right lessons from this experience and forge ahead with even greater resolve to strengthen the pole that the BJP represents.

I would like to call it the "Pole of Hope" since a lot of people in India are indeed looking to the BJP with hope and expectation in today's situation, when they feel alarmed by the direction in which the Congress party is trying to take this country.

Its recent actions in Goa and Jharkhand have once called into question its commitment to democracy. I sometimes wonder if the Congress party has learnt any lessons at all from its disastrous misadventure of imposing the Emergency Rule, whose 30th anniversary we shall commemorate this June.

Similarly, the Congress party's myopic approach to several potent threats to our national security, unity and integrity fills me with anxiety about what would happen to India if this approach guided politics and governance for a prolonged period.

I shall comment on these matters in some detail in my address to the National Council tomorrow.

When I say that we should resolve to strengthen the BJP, it is not aimed merely at enabling our Party to perform better in democratic pursuit of power. Rather, it is meant to remind ourselves that the likely threats to democracy, national security and India's unity and integrity can be effectively countered only if the forces of nationalism and the forces of democracy become stronger.

This, I believe, is the call of the Rajat Jayanti to the Party.

Today and Tomorrow, we shall reaffirm our resolve to heed and act as per this call.

Thank you.

Vande Mataram.