Shri Rajnath Singh
President Bharatiya Janata Party
20, January 2006, New Delhi
Bharatiya Janata Party is now 25 years young. Recently we celebrated Silver Jubilee of its foundation. On the conclusion of the august convention in celebration of that occasion, the onerous responsibility of Party’s National President was placed at my shoulders. I accept it in all humility. In this task I enjoy the blessings of my senior party veterans, cooperation of my colleagues, and affection of every worker. This spirit of love and affection generates a sense of coordination, collectivism and camaraderie which is the very basis of our party’s strength. At a time when most of the political parties in the country have been reduced to the position of personal fiefs of a few leaders, BJP stands apart as a party which passes through a process of natural evolution and developments in the organization. I owe my present position entirely to this natural evolutionary process in the party.
BJP is a political party rich in distinct ideology possessing an army of committed and dedicated workers. Added to this is a succession of capable, industrious and talented leaders, and above all, inspiring leadership of respected Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Shri Lal Krishna Advani. On this basis, I can say with confidence that together we all shall take BJP to a bright future. Our collective endeavour would accelerate the process of development and instill probity in public life. On being returned to power, our commitment would be to establish Su-Raj (good governance). Our ultimate aim shall be to re-establish the divine glory of Mother India in the world, as visualized by the great sage visionaries, like Shri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda and several other great souls.
What Politics means
As political activists we are all devoted to the service of society. Therefore, we need to be clear in our minds about the nature and purpose of politics. Rajniti, the Sanskrit word for politics, is derived from conjunction of two words ‘Raj’ and ‘niti’. The word Raj is derived from the word Rajya meaning state and niti from Sanskrit word ‘nay’ meaning to lead. Therefore, Rajniti means a system of government that leads to the right path.
In our ancient culture, Rajniti is known as Raj-Dharma. The dignity and sobriety of the word Rajniti should always be clear to us. Without this depth of understanding, we will neither realise our responsibilities nor will politics get a meaningful direction.
The present political environment doesn’t inspire faith in the minds of people but generates distrust and fear towards life. In the present political scenario, forget about Dharma and ethics, even the set standards of morality have collapsed. Now even public etiquettes and sense of shame seem to be vanishing. Politics today stands tarnished with the evils of selfishness, arrogance, casteism and corruption.
What is the scenario of political power in the country? We have a government at the Centre with numerous tainted ministers. Two ministers had at one time been declared proclaimed offenders; one had to resign on charges of rioting; one lost his ministry for involvement in oil scandal, and still another is involved in the controversy surrounding Bofors scandal. The ruling coalition is full of contradictions. In states they fight internecine political and electoral battles against one another but in the Centre they gang up just to oppose BJP.
In order to change this situation, we need both internal strength and strategy. But the question arises : what will be inspire us and guide us to our goals?
Our inspiration - Indianness
BJP is not merely a political party but a political movement raised on solid foundations of principles inspired by India and Indianness. Our Indianness is not merely a matter of cultural pride but a source of India’s latent strength as well.
Three elements are universally considered vital for a nation’s greatness.
1. Economic Power 2. Defence Power 3. Intellectual Prowess.
Possessed of these elements, USA continues to occupy the top position in the world for the last fifty years. Earlier, for some 100-100 years, 50-50 years Britain, Spain, Turkey and Rome did occupy the top positions. But in the face of adverse circumstances, these powers at the top of the world went down within ten-twenty years.
Hindutva is the symbol of Indian culture and traditions. It is also the source of economic prosperity, capacity to struggle, and intellectual prowess. Hindutva kindles feelings of respect for all. It arouses faith in justice and eliminates communal ill-will. It spreads the message of social equality and, above all, Hindutva is the symbol of nation’s way of life. The Supreme Court of India has also expatiated upon Hindutva on these lines. Hindutva is therefore an inspirational and liberal thought. Those who still dub it as communal ideology should apologise to the nation for this blunder.
The liberal, all-embracing way of life that persisted in the Indian culture down the ages has been expounded as “Integral Humanism” by our great visionary ideologue Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay in tune with the present times. In it, the relation of an individual to society, nation, world, nature and God has been propounded to be natural and continuous. This thought doesn’t provoke clash but only inspires harmony. The uplift of deprived, oppressed, dalit, neglected and backward sections is the centre point of our ideology, because without it the comprehensive development of the society cannot even be thought of. Under the philosophy of ‘Integral Humanism’, the concept of Antodaya, that is, the emancipation of the person standing on the lowest rung of the societal ladder, takes us to the fullness to our ideology.
India had been at the pinnacle of prosperity in the past. The process of loot and aggression against us began with Alexander’s invasion in 4th century BC. Then came Greeks, Huns, Shakas, Mongols, Turks, Arabs, Afghans, Spaniards, Portuguese, Dutch, Mughals and last of all, the British. These invasions continued till as late as the 18th century. Till that time we continued to enjoy our prosperity. While it took only 10-20 years for the economies of others to get destroyed, it took 2000 years for our invaders to make our economy collapse. But more than that, while it took at the most 50 years for other civilizations to get destroyed, even under adverse conditions India was able to withstand the onslaught and maintain its cultural essence for 2000 years. Yet, western scholars continued to praise us for our philosophy even during the worst of times.
Today, having entered the 21st century, we recall all this not just to sing eulogies of our past, but to underline the fact that in future also we will continue to acquire excellence in vital economic, military and intellectual spheres. Our inspiration is the tradition that is recognized as Indian or Hindu culture.
Culture, and not political might, is the very foundation of any nation. To substantiate this point, I quote the example of two countries. One was Soviet Union that was a very strong power on the strength of political might which in the first half of 20th century had come to exercise control over almost half of the globe. Yet it could not withstand the impact of adversity of circumstances and within 72 years disintegrated into not one or two but 18 splinter states. The other country is Israel that stood obliterated from the map of the world for more than a thousand years but owing to cultural vivacity stormed back to life and political reality.
The feeling of nationalism remains vibrant in the normal course in the cultural stream. The Ram Janmabhoomi movement was the natural manifestation of this flow. The demand for removal of Article 370 and enactment of a common civil code for all citizens is the expression of feelings for national integration. It will be our earnest effort that all political parties and all communities, especially the Muslim community, come forward and rising above political contours, find out a solution to the Ram temple issue in accordance with the peoples’ sentiments. Anything other than constructing a grand temple of Ram Lalla, at the site of Ram Janmabhoomi, will not be in accordance with the national spirit. It is an issue with which the faith for crores of our countrymen and the very pride of the nation is attached.
On the issue of Uniform Civil Code, I wish to remind that founder of the Constitution, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had pleaded for it in the Constituent Assembly. In the last few years, even the Judiciary had stressed on the government the need to implement directions in the Constitution regarding Uniform Civil Code. In these circumstances, I feel that keeping in view the intent of constitution-makers and directions of the Supreme Court of India, all political parties should review the matter and evolve a consensus on the subject.
With regard to Article 370, I wish to say that every political party is free to hold an independent opinion on any issue of national interest. While fully respecting this freedom of theirs I would like to request them to ponder over the spectre of terrorism raging in Kashmir for the last two decades and, at the same time, not ignore the plight of Kashmiri Hindus who have been forced to lead a life of refugees in their own country. In these circumstances, if all political parties take a sympathetic view and review their stand, it could lead to the generation of a more congenial atmosphere for finding a solution in the national interest.
The honour and proper rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pundits have been a priority for us and even today we continue to be sympathetic to the issue.
Bharatiya Jana Sangh/BJP have always been on the vanguard of upholding India’s national unity and cultural awareness. We have been struggling for unity and integrity of India from the beginning. In 1953, Jana Sangh founder Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee laid down his life for mobilising public opinion for the cause of integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India. To underscore the profound cultural affinity and unity Kashmir has with the rest of India, in 1991 Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi undertook a yatra from Kanyakumari to unfurl the national flag at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk ignoring the threat to his life. We have been in the forefront of struggle against tyranny and fascism during the days of the Emergency. The sacrifice and suffering of the dedicated cadres of the then Bharatiya Jana Sangh/RSS to restore democracy and civil liberties in the country can never be forgotten. The Ram Janmabhoomi Movement shall always be reckoned as the biggest mass movement in post-independence India. The Somnath to Ayodhya Rathyatra under Advaniji’s leadership infused a new vigour in the country. This movement imparted a new identity to India by infusing in it the concept of cultural nationalism. The movement for integration of Kashmir, struggle against the Emergency, and Ram Temple movement are milestones in the history of independent India. We are proud that Jana Sangh and BJP were harbingers of these three movements.
When the NDA government was formed at the Centre under the leadership of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he gave a new dimension to the country’s self-respect by conducting the Pokhran nuclear tests in May, 1998. After it became a nuclear power state the world has started looking at India with respect. Friends, time and again BJP has proved that what we say is not empty speeches or slogans for electoral gains only. We preach what we practise.
In other words, whether it is in the role of the ruling party or of the opposition, BJP has always been in the forefront to defend the political and cultural unity of the nation.
UPA Government failures
It will be more appropriate to call the ruling coalition at the Centre led by the Congress and subsisting on the crutches provided by the Communists as an immoral alliance not in the service of the nation but just to grab political power with the sole purpose of opposing BJP. The UPA government has only created more problems for the country and complicated many others.
The country is feeling concerned today because of the deteriorating national security scenario. Terrorism is on the rise in Kashmir and peace which returned to Punjab many years back is once again being threatened by terrorism raising its head in the State. In addition, Naxalite violence has already gripped and is increasingly spreading its tentacles fast in about 170 districts covering the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and other parts of the country.
The situation is deteriorating in India’s northeast day by day. Violence has escalated in Assam and surprisingly its Congress Chief Minister is proposing to provide safe passage to extremist organisations. In Manipur, it appears as if the administration has apparently prostrated itself before the adversary. Terrorist organisations there are forcing the BJP and other opposition parties to keep away from elections. Senior Police Officers have been murdered. An ethnic war erupted between Dimasa and Kabri Anglong tribes and the government has continued to be a mute spectator. Here also Congress is indulging in a policy of appeasement of terrorist organisations.
In the 19 months of UPA government’s reign, the terrorist assaults in Ayodhya, Delhi and Bangalore have proved that this government can neither protect centres of cultural importance like Ayodhya, nor centres of political importance like Delhi, nor the developing centres of economic and technical importance, like Bangalore. During its rule terrorism is fast moving towards destroying the cultural, political and economic fabric of the country.
The Census 2001 has revealed alarming facts about worsening religious balance in India’s demography. The government tried its best to suppress these facts. The growing imbalance in religious demography in frontier districts of West Bengal and Assam is a matter of national concern. It is not what is happening in the natural course but the impact of demographic aggression from across the international border. Sadly, this enjoys the indirect patronage of the UPA government.
Infiltration from Bangladesh is on the rise. Today more than 20 million Bangladeshis have intruded into the country. The Supreme Court has likened the situation to the one of external aggression. The IMDT Act promulgated with the intention of detecting and deporting illegal immigrants in practice proved to be their greatest promoter and protector. The Act was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. The Congress and Leftists, keeping political expediency in mind adopted a lax attitude in this regard. There would hardly have been any other country in the world that tolerates such type of infiltration. The Congress has thus, for selfish reasons, put a question mark on the security of the country.
Policy of Appeasement
Congress has a history of indulging in a policy of appeasements at the cost of national interests. Right since the partition of India to Shah Bano case only this facet of Congress has manifested itself. As a consequence, the present government has started eroding the basic structure of the Constitution. The court judgments against reservation to Muslims in Andhra Pradesh and in Aligarh Muslim University substantiate the righteousness of BJP’s stand. In spite of this, the Union Human Resource Development Minister continues to harp that the government would find out some other means for giving 50 percent reservation to Muslims in post-graduate courses in AMU. This is nothing less than a blatant contempt of the Constitution.
Politicisation of Education
In ancient past, India had been the Vishwaguru of the world and, in the present, it is emerging as an intellectual hub of the world for the future. The importance education enjoys can, in the normal course, be appreciated from this fact. Our system of education needs to be such that it promotes nationalism. But unfortunately, the Congress and the leftists have conspired to remove the elements of nationalism from education. By describing Lords Rama and Krishna as mere imaginary characters they are trying to sever future generation’s links with the nation’s heritage. If Lords Rama and Krishna are imaginary beings, then can the greatness of India be real?
Not only this, the government has gone to the extent of undermining nationalism by denigrating the revolutionaries of our freedom struggle in the text books. A UPA minister committed the nefarious act of removing the historic plaque of Swatantryaveer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar from the Cellular Jail in Port Blair. The tendency to insult the elements of nationalism is very much visible both in thoughts and actions of this government. The institutions of higher learning are being commercialised to such an extent that it is becoming increasingly impossible for a poor student to afford education in an institution of higher education.
Village, Poor and Farmer
75 percent of India’s population lives in villages. Agriculture is the mainstay of our economic development. In spite of that the Indian farmer is leading a life of want and misery. Thousands of farmers have committed suicide. The situation is so alarming that over 500 farmers from a village in Vidharba, Maharashtra, plagued by bad debts wrote to the Honourable President of India seeking permission to end their lives. 40 percent of farmers want to quit agriculture and engage themselves in other professions. UPA government policies are completely anti-farmer. In recently concluded WTO meet at Hong Kong, UPA government buckled under the pressure of developed countries and sacrificed the interests of Indian farmers. This government apparently lacks the will power to protect the interests of farmers.
Why protect Quattrocchi?
Nearly two decades old Bofors Scandal recently took a shameful turn when two London accounts of middle-man and close Gandhi family friend, Ottavio Quattrocchi, were allowed to be de-freezed by UPA government. It created queer and embarrassing situation for the Congress. First, it was stated that PMO had no information about it, and later, it was given out that Law Ministry has no links with it. Whatever it is, it looks strange that Additional Solicitor General of Government of India should go to Britain to give a clean chit to a person against whom a case is pending in Delhi High Court and Interpol has issued a Red Corner Notice against him. It has happened for the first time in the history of India that an investigating agency has taken upon itself the function of a Judge. When the case is sub-judice in court, has the Law Ministry the power to decide whether there is sufficient evidence against the accused or not? But without a sense of shame the UPA mounted pressure on the CBI to change its original stand and cleared the decks for withdrawal of $4 million Bofors kickback money parked in two London bank accounts.
Bharatiya Janata Party feels that the amount Quattrocchi has withdrawn from his London account is the hard-earned money of Indian taxpayers. Therefore, it must be brought back to India. Speaking from an undisclosed location, Quattrocchi has alleged that a particular political party of India was targetting him for his proximity to the Gandhi family. We acknowledge that Quattrocchi is referring to BJP. But with all the courage and determination at our command we declare that BJP will target every person who tries to siphon off Indian money abroad. The Prime Minister and Smt. Sonia Gandhi must clarify why the country was taken for a ride.
Bharatiya Janata Party is committed to ensuring the emancipation of the village, the poor and the peasantry. Farmers represent not only the bulk of country’s population, they also constitute the largest chunk of producers and consumers. The economic advancement of the country can be ushered in only if we enhance the purchasing power of the farmers. Comprehensive development of rural sectors is absent at the moment. Farmer is the backbone of rural sector. The village environment creates a sense of self-reliance and social relationship in the farmer. It is therefore necessary that the condition of farmers should be improved by making greater investment in the farming sector. Industrial development of the nation is inter-linked with the agricultural development. Besides being the purveyor of food grains for the country, farmer also produces the raw material vital for industrial development of the country. Agriculture can become the pivot of this country’s economy and the mainstay of building a self-reliant nation.
The NDA government had taken several initiatives for the uplift of village, poor and farmers. For the first time in the history of India the rate of interest on farm loans was reduced from 14-18 percent to 9 percent. Kissan Credit Cards were distributed and terms for farm loans were relaxed and made easy. The Agriculture Income Insurance Scheme was launched to guarantee a definite income to farmers and to insure his farm earnings, but the present UPA government has shelved these farmer friendly schemes. Therefore, I accuse that the mindset of this UPA government as antipathetic to rural areas, poor and farmers. The struggle of rural areas, the poor and the farmer is in fact the real struggle for India’s uplift, for decentralisation of political power, for equality and harmony in society, and in the real sense the struggle for country’s self-reliance.
I wish to call upon the activists:
Pahuncho Khet aur Khalihanon tak
Gaon, Gareeb aur Kissanon tak
(Reach out to the fields and farms, to villages, poor and farmers.)
The Common Man
The phenomenon of uncontrolled rise in prices has become synonymous with the advent of Congress governments. Today the prices of petrol, diesel, LPG, cereals and fertilizers are spiraling. These have been raised upward six or seven times during last 19 months. Even in spite of skyrocketing prices, nothing like LPG, fertilizer and the like is available easily in the market. Black market in essential commodities is thriving in the country to the discomfort of the common man and to the prosperity of the black-marketeers and hoarders who seem to be the main supporters of the present government.
The interest rates on small savings by common man have been reduced. So have the interest rates on Provident Funds for government employees gone down. On the contrary, interest rates on loans for house construction have been hiked.
The government went a step further. It curtailed the quota of ration for those living below the poverty line, which for the time being had to be rolled back under intense political pressure. This has laid bare the anti-people and anti-poor face of this government.
By launching Employment Guarantee Scheme without a matching budgetary provision, the Congress has played a cruel joke with the unemployed youth. Now it has become amply clear that be it the poor farmer or the unemployed youth, the government employee or the common man, everybody is the victim of the wrong policies of this government. Therefore, I declare from this platform that we find this government inimical to the poor and the farmer.
During the last General Elections the Congress had raised the slogan-“Congress Ka Haath, Aam Admi ke saath” (The Hand of Congress is with the common man). It is now beyond proof today that the Hand of Congress is not helping the common man but is actually thrashing him.
Collapse of Constitutional Order
Because of the wrong policies of the UPA government, the situation in the country has deteriorated. By misusing power with ulterior designs, the constitutional order stands very much disturbed. UPA has indulged in blatant misuse of constitutional institutions to serve its selfish ends. This process commenced with the creation of two power centres in the government. In practical terms, it was a devaluation of the office of Prime Minister. An extra-constitutional power centre was created under the name of Chairman of National Advisory Council. Several MPs with criminal backgrounds were inducted into the Union Council of Ministers.
The foreign policy adopted by NDA Government under the able leadership of Atalji resulted in emergence of India as a potent economic and military power on the global scene. But this government has failed to safeguard our national interests even with our neighbours.
The peace process with Pakistan was a courageous pioneering step by Atalji with a commitment to peace. We need to cultivate friendly relations not only with Pakistan, but with all our neighbours. But at present every suggestion emanates from Pakistan and India is just giving its reactions. It will be a great blunder on the part of the present government if we lose the initiative at improving relations started by our Government. Why is the Government not taking people into confidence on this issue? Government must learn to stand firm.
The BJP is very much concerned with the incidences going on in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has become a new resort for the terrorists, drug mafia and the smugglers of weapons. If the problem of infiltration, rising crime and the mushrooming of Madarsas in Bangladesh along the Indian border, all are taken together, this gives a very serious picture. This is a very sensitive issue pertaining to our internal security. UPA Government should try to find out some solution before this problem takes a gigantic proportion.
The harmony of intimate relations between India and Nepal is historical and spans centuries. We can see the glimpse of this intimacy in the various fields from education to trade and commerce and even representation in the Army. The basis of this relationship is the cultural and civilisational affinity. During the last few months this mutual relationship has turned sour. The government of India has stopped the supply of arms and ammunition to Nepal for fighting against the Maoist insurgency. In the mean time, China has supplied some arms to Nepal. Pakistan is also inclined to have friendship with Nepal.
NDA Government adopted an appropriate policy towards Nepal, which is not the case with this Government. Constitutional monarchy symbolises the people’s sentiments and the Nepali ethos. The democratic system is required for the modern development and economic and social advancement of Nepal. The lack of any of these two can create imbalance leading to uncertainty in Nepal. The government of India must keep an eye on it. The rising influence and terror of Maoist forces cannot be left apart as an internal matter of Nepal. This is bound to inflict far reaching consequences on our internal security. It will be better if all the political parties in Nepal take part in the democratic process initiated at the level of local bodies by H.E. King. The Government of India should try to create an atmosphere conducive to this process. As the Maoist forces are indulging in violence since several years, so their approach cannot be termed as truly democratic. Therefore any step of non-cooperation with the Government of Nepal on the issue of countering the Maoist forces is not in the national interest. It is required that the UPA Government should rectify its policy and remove the present restrictions on arms supply to Nepal. Government should ensure to maintain our natural and intimate relations with Nepal. The policy of India towards Nepal cannot be considered only as a matter of foreign policy as it involves many consequences on the future of our internal security.
The government indulged in more grievous blunders subsequently. The way a BJP government was pulled down in Goa and people verdict was hijacked in Bihar and Jharkhand through gubernatorial manipulations is well known to the entire country. While the Supreme Court held the dissolution of Bihar assembly as ‘Unconstitutional’, it described the conduct of Jharkhand governor as ‘fraud’ on the Constitution. With these actions the dignity of the office of Governor has been lowered. It is becoming increasingly evident that the intentions of this government run from behind the stage by an extra-constitutional authority are intended to undermine authority of the Constitution.
A Union Minister, in a press conference, abused the Election Commission of India as being not only partial but casteist too. Two Cabinet Ministers called each other’s names from public platforms. Twice, Union Ministers were found fugitives. Never had the dignity of Union Cabinet plummeted so low in independent India as it is under UPA.
The incident of MPs accepting bribe is utterly reprehensible. It should be taken to mean a matter involving the dignity of Parliament. Corruption charges have been levelled against individual MPs even before. In a recently published book Mitrokhin Archives-II, compiled by a former KGB archivist, Vasili Mitrokhin, it has been revealed that the entire Congress and Communist Party was guilty of accepting foreign money as bribe. In Volcker Report, it is not only Natwar Singh, but the name of Congress Party figures prominently as a beneficiary in the oil scam. The charge of accepting bribe for ideology and making compromise with nation’s sovereignty has been levelled against Congress and Communist Party. We already know that the ideology of Communism had come from abroad on the strength of foreign money. The Communists who oppose Foreign Direct Investment in industry and commerce, had been welcoming foreign direct investment in their ideology!
There is lack of transparency in the nuclear agreement reached between India and USA. There is ample scope for suspicion on this account. UPA government is committing a series of blunders in the vital area of national security. Have we compromised with the independence of our nuclear policy? The Prime Minister claims that the deal has been struck from a position of equality, but the statements made by US officials do not substantiate PM’s claim and fail to convince people. It is an anomalous situation in which US Parliament has been provided with full details of the agreement while the Indian Parliament has been kept in the dark.
After the end of cold war, India’s relations improved with the rest of the world, including the US during the NDA rule. It is a matter of proud achievement for the nation. However, the manner in which the UPA Government is cultivating its relations with the US administration, the domination of American interests, policies, and strategies is becoming increasingly prominent. Because of these wrongs of UPA, India is now losing fast the advantage it had gained in the wake of Pokhran test in 1998. The BJP warns the Government not to do anything under pressure which disturbs the balance of our relations with US presently on an equal footing. It should not compromise with our integrity and sovereignty.
BJP considers every person from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean as an Indian. India is his origin and that is his caste. We all are one and constitute one nation with a unified culture and only one nationality. In spite of this fact, with an eye on vote bank many political parties indulge in petty politics of caste. BJP stands committed to empowerment of socially and economically underprivileged, those left out of the national mainstream as a result of neglect by state and society, and extending special opportunities to Scheduled castes and groups as pledged by our constitution makers. BJP believes in the oneness of the people. We favour extending special opportunities to them and other economically backward people in matters of nation-building. When I was Chief Minister of UP I had charted out a programme for identification of extremely backward people and dalits to give them special benefits and opportunities.