Shri Rajnath Singh
President Bharatiya Janata Party
National Executive Meeting
29-30, May 2006, New Delhi
We are again assembled here today in the meeting of the National Executive, after the meeting of the National Executive on the conclusion of the Rajat Jayanti celebrations of Bharatiya Janata Party in Mumbai, This is the first meeting of the National Executive being held under my presidentship. The Mumbai session flashes to our mind the presence of Pramodji, as if he is standing right before us. But that is not so. Today’s National Executive is being held without him. It was a great shock for the Bharatiya Janata Party. In the pursuit of social service we do come across such unbearable tragedies. We have to bear with Pramodji’s loss and make our organisation to continue to move ahead.
Bharatiya Janata Party is an organisation with enormous capabilities and possibilities. As compared to other political parties, our karyakartas are more honest, more capable and have greater capacity to struggle. Among all the political organisations in the country, it is the Bharatiya Janata Party alone that stands apart in following democratic principles. We are rich in capable leadership. In addition to BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, we have a BJP-led government in Jharkhand and BJP-supported governments in Bihar, Orissa, Karnataka and Nagaland. We have established ourselves as a great political force in the country. In spite of that, we have to effectively extend the sphere of our influence in other States of the country too. It is the BJP alone that has not only challenged the Congress but also dethroned from power this well-entrenched Party in various States and at the Centre while ushering in a great change in the basic structure of politics. We are sure, God will smoothen our path in future also. People have started realizing that their future is safe only in the hands of BJP. It is the only party that rising above the vote-bank politics struggles for the welfare of the people all over the country right from Kashmir to Kerala.
Just concluded Vidhan Sabha elections
BJP has successfully established its political prowess in the Indian politics during the party’s long, tortuous political journey starting from the days of Jana Sangh, despite numerous ups and downs.
In the just concluded elections to State assemblies, BJP contested on its own strength in all the States. The success of our strategy cannot, alone, be gauged from the number of seats we won. We have certainly taken great strides in expanding our organisation and spreading our ideology far and wide. Faced with the trend of election results in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Pondicherry and West Bengal, we have to think afresh to chalk out our strategy in these States to achieve greater acceptability there. We are sure, we shall be crowned with better results in future. In Assam, our efforts have borne fruit with satisfactory results.
We have succeeded in both increasing the seats and vote percentage in Assam despite the fact that in the last elections we fought in alliance and this time all alone. In this perspective, the increase in the number of our seats becomes all the more encouraging. In Assam, we have also succeeded in extending geographical boundaries of our influence. For the first time, we have been successful in establishing our noteworthy presence in Brahmputra Valley. I can say with confidence that these elections have established BJP as a political force to reckon with in Assam.
Bharat Suraksha Yatra
On April 6 BJP launched a countrywide public awareness campaign through the medium of Bharat Suraksha Yatra. Both of us, Hon’ble Advaniji from Dwarika in Gujarat and I myself from Jagannath Puri in Orissa, reached out to the countrymen through this yatra. Besides the issue of increasing threat of terrorism and of appeasement because of wrong policies of the UPA government, the masses were educated about the issue of skyrocketing prices. We got into a direct contact with the people during the yatra. We witnessed a great display of enthusiasm among our workers and the general public on these issues. The way massive crowds thronged to welcome the yatra in the far-flung areas of Naxal-affected States of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Bihar where people did not dare come out of their homes after sunset, instilled in us a sense of confidence that the matters on which BJP is feeling worried, are equally a matter of concern for the people living in the interiors of these regions.
Because of soft approach and wrong policies of UPA, the morale of terrorists and naxalites is on the increase. Violent attacks are taking place all over the country. In these circumstances, through the medium of Bharat Suraksha Yatra we have been successful in bringing home to the UPA government the great anger and resentment prevailing among the masses.
During the Yatra we have tried to bind the countrymen with our ideology and our principles. We all know that this Yatra was to conclude on May 10 at Delhi but because of the unfortunate demise of Pramodji, it had to be terminated on May 3 itself.
Challenges before the country
It is two years since NDA demit office and UPA took over the reigns of government. Because of an incapable and ineffective leadership numerous problems have raised their head in the last two years. The country has suffered a lot in economic, political and social spheres. The kind of damage inflicted on national security, dignity of the Constitution and international standing during UPA rule is unprecedented in the history of independent India.
The nation is faced with numerous dangers before it. It was during Congress rule that a historical blunder was committed on the issue of Tibet and the same is now being repeated today in the case of Nepal.
India shares with Nepal an open and unprotected border extending to 1751 kilometres. India is also a home to 22 lakh Nepalese who enjoy every right available to Indians. Gorkhas have a sizeable representation in the Indian Army. In these circumstances, if an administration not favourably disposed towards India comes into power, it will certainly have an adverse impact on our security environment. We are today receiving reports of a dangerous collusion between Maoists of Nepal, terrorists of Bangladesh and Pakistan’s ISI. It is not clear with whose agenda did the Leftists visit Nepal – of Manmohan government or of Maoists. I hold UPA government responsible for the present complicated situation in Nepal because this government failed to take any meaningful and constructive initiative on the issue in time.
The Foreign Minister of this government fell a victim to Volcker Committee report. Since then we have no independent Foreign Minister in this government. CPM is managing the foreign policy of this government by proxy, that is, on CPM directions. After interfering in Nepal, the Leftists have directed their attention to targetting Sri Lanka. Perhaps the Prime Minister is gambling with a new and strange experiment of allowing a political party from outside the Government to run the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Before this, the Left parties tried to incite communal feelings among minorities on international issues, like Iran and Iraq, and India’s relations with USA. I wish to warn the Prime Minister that the country will have to pay heavily for these follies.
Where does this government wish to take the country? The Leftists and the Congress join hands to pass a resolution in Kerala assembly demanding release, on parole, of the main accused in the Coimbatore bomb blast case. They presented a new example in the history of the country of a State legislature supporting a person accused of treason.
The apprehensions which had been aired by the former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee about the nuclear deal signed with USA seem to be coming out true. In the name of developing nuclear energy, a question mark is being put on India’s nuclear defence capability. The details of the agreement disclosed to Parliament about the agreement with USA do not tally with the details presented before US Congress. It appears the UPA government has misled the Parliament on this sensitive issue.
By withholding Agni-III tests the UPA government has generated apprehensions in the nation. It is not clear whether it is inspired by the Defence Minister’s claim to nation’s self-assessment of the situation or prompted by need to cater to the strategic requirements of powerful nations of the world. Every alert citizen of the country wants to know the reason for this because it certainly is a setback to our indigenous missile development programme, particularly in view of the fact that Atalji’s government in 1999 had undertaken Agni-II test even in the face of strong economic and military sanctions against India. It, therefore, clearly establishes that the defence power that was strengthened during our regime has now been weakened under UPA government.
All our neighbouring countries today are emerging into centers of anti-India conspiracies. Since long such anti-India activities were already going on from Pakistan’s territory. Now disruptive activities are also being directed from Bangladesh. We have already expressed our concern over the situation in Nepal. On the one hand, LTTE is getting pro-active again in Sri Lanka and, on the other, Taliban is again raising its head in Afghanistan. All this is a story of failure of the UPA government’s foreign policy.
Blackmarketing of nuclear and strategic technology from Pakistan is a matter of record and of special concern for India. From Doda to Delhi and from Varanasi to Bangalore terrorists strike, at will, with impunity anytime, anywhere and anyway they like. Not only this, Government of India permits Hurriyat leaders to travel up to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir but Pakistan escorts them up to Islamabad. Government of India fails to register a meaningful protest on the issue.
The Vajpayee government had put great pressure on Pakistan and made General Musharraf give an undertaking that he will not allow Pakistan territory to be used for breeding terror against India. But this Government made all these gains of Vajapayee government to go waste. The notorious terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Toiba continues to spread its wings of terror in India by changing its nomenclature to Jamat-ud-Dava. UPA can, if it likes, bring in a resolution under 1373 in Security Council to get it declared as a terrorist organisation.
Not only the people of India, even the Indian army is stunned by the reports of UPA government’s intention to withdraw forces from strategically important Siachen glacier. For the first time in the history of India, in just two months had the Chief of Army Staff twice to come out in public opposing the move of the government, first against Muslim head-count in the Indian Army and then, on withdrawal of forces from Siachen. BJP will not, under any circumstances, tolerate withdrawal of forces from a strategic point like Siachen glacier on the pretext of improving relations with Pakistan.
During this month itself 32 Hindus were butchered in Doda and Udhampur in Jammu & Kashmir. Even after that, the security arrangements proved so lopsided that terrorists were able to mount an attack on peaceful BJP demonstrators. After that, government failed to prevent a terrorist attack on its own Congress party rally. It is a glaring example of government’s failure on matters of internal security.
The situation in Kashmir today looks very explosive. After Kashmir Valley, there seems to be a sustained campaign to completely push Hindus and Sikhs out of the Jammu region even. Terrorists from Pakistan have in the past, many a times, openly declared this intention of theirs. Two BJP workers got martyrdom in a grenade attack while demanding security for the people. The problem in Kashmir is already a threat to the sovereignty of India. In view of a pre-planned conspiracy to push out minority community of Hindus, it has now taken the form of an outright challenge to the very secular character of India. The attacks on political rallies have put a question mark in Kashmir over the very nature of India’s democratic setup. Therefore, Jammu & Kashmir has now become a challenge to our sovereign, secular and democratic country and, in other words, to the very national character of India.
At the same time, the condition of Hindu refugee camps in the country continues to be pathetic. In the light of these circumstances I wish to appeal to all the political parties in the country to understand the delicacy of the situation and review their stand on Article 370. I feel that the need to seriously think over Article 370 was never greater than it is today.
Not only in Kashmir, be it the attack on Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi, or communal violence in Lucknow because of controversy over cartoons of Prophet Mohammad and, later in Aligarh or the carnage at Mau in Uttar Pradesh – all these are the living examples of the outcome of communal passions incited by our opponents.
Common Civil Code
Common Civil Code is not an issue of politics but is an important requirement of the integral face of the nation. Not only once, but two-three times has the Supreme Court issued directions in this behalf. In addition to Constitutional experts, persons who have adorned highest offices in the country have also supported this issue. This issue draws its inspiration from the basic spirit of the Constitution. In the situation that has developed of late, the issue of common civil code has become all the more relevant. There should be a national debate on the issue.
Naxalite terrorism is fast spreading its tentacles all over the country. It is a new threat to the internal security of the country. After assuming power at the Centre, UPA government adopted a soft policy towards Naxalites and consequently Naxalism spread further and gained strength. According to figures presented by the Union Home Minister in Parliament, the casualty figure in Naxalite violence went up by 53 percent in 2004-2005. Because of the amalgamation of another 1000 cadres the Naxalites have further got strengthened. A big chunk of geographical area and about 20 percent population of the country has got itself under the sway of Naxalite and terrorist influence. Because of anti-people policies of UPA government, both prices and unemployment are on the increase. Exploiting this situation to their advantage, Naxalites are misleading the people, youth in particular, and arming them. Naxalites are bent upon destroying the social, political and economic structure of the country and the government has failed to take effective steps to counter this menace.
Uncontrolled price rise
The uncontrolled price rise of essential commodities of everyday use has left the common man high and dry. From atta, daal, rice, fruit, vegetables, sale, sugar to petrol, diesel, cooking gas, and kerosene oil, everything is getting abnormally costlier. There is an indication of further rise in the prices of petrol and diesel. On the other hand, the common man is aghast at the disappearance of these commodities from the open market and their free availability in black-market. Under NDA’s government, inflation and black-marketing were kept under check. It is intriguing that every time Congress comes in power, price rise and black-marketing follow it closely and thrive. People wish to know the reason for this. During the reign of our government, we had helped the common man realise his dream to have his own home by lowering the rate of interest on housing loans. But with the advent of UPA government the rate of interest on loans has started increasing constantly and the common man’s dream is now getting shattered.
In spite of this increasing financial burden on the common man, supporters of Government are trying to project the spurt in Sensex as a proof of its success on the economic front. On the second anniversary of UPA, this myth too got shattered. The share prices crash on May 22 not only put the industry to a great loss, it also ruined about 2 crore small investors. It is the third time that business had to be stopped because of depression in the market. Finance Minister has termed it as a “manufactured crisis”. Reaffirming its commitment to protect the interests of small investors, BJP wants to know from the Finance Minister as to who are the persons who “manufactured" this crisis? What action did the SEBI take against them? In the light of the Sensex falling 2000 points in five days, was this comment of the Finance Minister justified?
Employment Guarantee Yojna
Employment Guarantee Yojna is another fraud played by UPA on the crores of unemployed in the country. The recently enacted Employment Guarantee Act provides for an employment only for 100 days at the rate of Rs. 60 per day in a year in only 200 out of 400 districts of the country. Four crore unemployed living in urban areas have been kept out of the benefit of the Yojna. Can a family subsist on just Rs. 6000 a year as guaranteed by the Act?
Problems of Kisan
The increasing financial burden on the Kisans because of unstable policies of UPA government is pushing them to despair. The incidents of Kisan suicides are on the increase in many States. All the farmer-friendly programmes and policies of NDA government have been put in the cold storage. During our time, the food grains stores in the country were full to the brim and we were exporting food grains. But in two years the situation has so much deteriorated that we have to import food grains. Above all, the imported wheat is being purchased at a rate higher rate than that at which the Indian wheat has been purchased. In this also, government has got wheat imported through an Australian firm AWB Limited whose name adversely figures in the Volcker Committee report. In the midst the pitiable condition of kisans and problem of food shortages, the spectacle of corruption is the most unfortunate. There is no indication of any serious attempt by the government towards rejuvenation of co-operative banks in the country. BJP Kisan Morcha organized a dharna to draw the attention of government towards the pitiable condition of farmers and presented a Memorandum to the Union Agriculture Minister.
Telangana people cheated
At the time of assembly elections two years back, the Congress and Telangana Rashtra Samiti had promised to the people that if they win, they will carve out a separate State of Telangana out of the present Andhra Pradesh. Both the parties won but Congress threw the Telangana issue in the cold storage. The other day I had been to Andhra Pradesh. The leading workers of our party briefed me on the Telangana issue. It was after consultation with them that I announced the party’s support to the creation of a new Telangana State. From the very beginning we have stood for smaller States. In accordance with the pre-poll promises the NDA government of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee had created three new States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal. We wish Telangana State to be a reality. During Bharat Suraksha Yatra Shri Advani had highlighted the Party’s stand on Telangana. If a motion for creation of Telangana is brought out in the Lok Sabha, we will support it. Party workers in Andhra Pradesh, particularly those belonging to Telangana region, have welcomed this stand of ours.
Erosion of Constitutional institutions
During its regime UPA eroded the sanctity of numerous institutions of the Constitution. The list of such instances is unending.
It was for the first time in the history of the country that this Government gave a place of honour in the Union Cabinet to persons facing charges of heinous crimes in courts.
For the first time Governors were removed before completion of their tenure and a black chapter in history was inserted with the blatant misuse of the Constitutional Office of Governor in the States of Goa, Jharkhand and Bihar.
After the Supreme Court verdict declaring the IMDT Act and reservation to Muslims on the basis of religion against the spirit of the Constitution, the UPA Government reaction does not amount to respect to the court.
The Congress and the Communist parties publicly criticized the Constitutional institution of Election Commission. A Cabinet Minister in UPA not only charged Election Commission with partiality, but even went to the extent of charging it of being casteist. Never had the position of the Election Commission been targetted in such a manner during any other Government.
On the Office of Profit issue, without framing any criteria, a mention was made directly of a list of offices. The fact of first abruptly adjourning the Parliament on this issue and then reconvening Parliament on its own as per its convenience only shows that this Government is making Parliament an instrument of conscience.
On the basis of these instances, it is no exaggeration to say that during its tenure the UPA government has severely eroded the power, prestige and authority of many institutions of the Constitution.
Dividing the society
It appears the UPA government has launched upon a well-planned campaign to destroy the very social fabric of the country. Religious conversion promoted with allurements or force by exploiting illiteracy and poverty is altogether unjustified. The Constitution does not permit it. The Supreme Court too has held such an attempts wrong. This is a serious matter of great social concern and it should not be given a political colour.
Instead of putting under restraint organisations like Jamait-e-Islami Hind demanding reservation to Muslims, Congress itself went ahead, against the provisions in the Constitution, with providing reservation in government jobs to Muslims on religious basis in Andhra Pradesh and reservation to Muslims in post-graduate courses in Aligarh Muslim University. Not only that. It went further to widen the communal divide by asking for a Muslim head-count in the Army.
The manner in which the reservation issue has been handled by the UPA government, leaves no one in doubt that its object is not social justice but to create social tensions. The Bharatiya Janata Party had supported the Constitution amendment to provide reservations in higher educational institutions. However, while doing so, any attempt at divisiveness must be avoided. Social fabric of the society must not be damaged. Consensus building is a must for such initiatives. The UPA government has failed on that score. The government must ensure that while implementing reservations, the space for merit is not squeezed and excellence of institutions is not compromised. Efforts must be taken to ensure that the benefits of reservation must reach the most deprived amongst the socially deprived sections. The Government must ensure that the Economically weaker sections of the upper cast are included in the benefits of the reservation. The BJP is opposed to the exclusion of minor minority institution from the obligation of reservation. There must be no reservation on religious basis.
BJP – its past, present and future
As a political organisation, BJP is proud of its past glory. In every era of politics and under every circumstances, BJP has established itself as a powerful political entity.
As Bharatiya Jana Sangh we established ourselves as a political party with a sound ideology from 1951 to 1977. Re-emerging on the political scene in a new avtar as Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980, we reached the pinnacle of power on the strength of a vibrant and effective organisation with a definite ideology. We left an indelible mark on the political life of the country by giving a stable and a good coalition government to the people from 1998 to 2004, at the same time strengthening our organisation and spreading our ideology. Simultaneously, we created new milestones of running a smooth and efficient coalition government. In other words, we excelled ourselves in the three fields of ideology, organisation and coalition as a leading political organisation.
Our party has always maintained its distinct identity. There has been a distinct image of the party in the minds of the people and they have entertained a special type of expectations from us. But we have to admit that today that some questions have been raised on this special identity of ours. We have to address ourselves to these questions collectively in a united manner. I request you to ponder over the situation that gave rise to these questions. Therefore, we have to think over and introspect.
Discipline is one of the main strengths of our identity. We have to make our views known by keeping ourselves within the limits of discipline. Even while admitting that decorum has been violated during the past some years, none of us can say that what happened was right. Indiscipline at every level has to be dealt with a firm hand at all costs. Otherwise, we too are destined to meet the fate of other parties.
I feel the thinking of our party has always been centered around the karyakartas. Along with the programmes of the party we are also involving the individual karyakartas in the promotion of public welfare. While being active in public life we must keep in mind that while being in opposition it is our duty to continue to struggle for promoting public welfare and while being in power to concentrate on finding solution to people’s problems and not our own personal publicity. Rising above the considerations of personal benefit, our commitment should be to the nation’s interests.
It is two years since we came out of power at the Centre. A review of the reasons that contributed to our failure in Lok Sabha elections in 2004 has already been undertaken. I consider the failure of more than 50 percent of our MPs to win again as one of the main reasons responsible for our defeat. It appears that there was something lacking in our efforts to create a place for ourselves in the hearts of the people. We have to ponder over this fact. This example is both a challenge and a lesson for our elected representatives, office-bearers of our party and, particularly, in the States where we are in power. Constant contact and communication between people, people’s representatives and workers is the lifeline of an organisation. It is very necessary to keep it live and continuous.
A great responsibility befalls on the governments where we are in power. We have to instil in the minds of the people a feeling that BJP-run or BJP-supported governments are their own. The work and conduct of our chief ministers, ministers, as also public representatives should be oriented towards the people and the karyakartas..
BJP believes in internal democracy. To enrol members, active members and conduct elections down from Mandal up to the national level has been our distinct identity. Accordingly, the work of enrolment of primary members has already been launched all over the country. The outline for initial arrangements for conducting organisation al elections was presented before the office-bearers at the national level by the National Election Officer. It has been decided to complete organisation al elections at all levels by the end of November this year. I am sure our State units will play their effective role in ensuring that this is done in time. My only request is that we should complete the organisation al elections with full coordination in the spirit of a karyakarta. While doing so, we will keep the party’s traditions, trust and reputation in mind.
In the organisation al elections we should do our best to evolve consensus as far as possible. At the same time, I feel, our commitment to strengthen internal democracy should remain firm.
Before taking any political decision, we should always keep in mind the feelings of our karyakartas. Before taking a decision, there should be a free, frank and open discussion. But once a decision has been arrived at, there should be no room for discussion or comment on it. Instead, we should devote ourselves to the implementation of that decision.
Neglect of development
The rapid pace of development that was set in motion during NDA regime has been made to continuously and rapidly slow down under UPA reign, prestigious developmental projects have been put on the back burner. On the contrary, commendable projects of development are continuing at great speed in BJP-ruled and BJP-coalition States even without the necessary help of the Centre. These State governments deserve to be congratulated on this score.
Despite efforts being made by various quarters to hinder development, the exemplary grit and determination displayed by Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh governments in the matter of construction of Sardar Sarovar Dam Project in the interest of public is all the more commendable.
After taking over as President I undertook an extensive tour of many States. I had the opportunity of interacting with the State leadership and the karyakartas. I am confident that our karyakartas are fully prepared to face any situation that may develop in the country. Friends, next year is an year of challenge for the party. While in the earlier part of 2007 there will be elections in the States of Punjab, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur, in the latter part, elections are due in another important State like Gujarat. We have to gird up our loins for meeting the challenge of elections in these States. People of the country are fed up with the Congress and the Left Parties and they entertain no hope from these parties. Therefore, it is but natural that people nurture great hopes from BJP.
Fate has thrown on our shoulders the responsibility of making the country tread the path of progress and prosperity by taking it out of the present abyss of despair and dejection. We have to discharge this onerous and moral duty with diligence, commitment and honesty. If we fail to come up to the expectations of the people, history will never pardon us. I do not only hope, but I am confident also that the future belongs to us and we are destined to play our role in ushering in a prosperous India.
It is a time to struggle and we have to make good use of every moment available with us to stand up to play our role and play it well. Our victory is assured.