Bharatiya Janata Party
National Executive Meeting (21-22-23 September, 2007)
Late Kusabhau Thakre Hall
Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay Complex, Bhopal
Speech by Shri L.K. Advani
Friends, India is at a crossroads. However, no astrologer is needed to predict the direction in which it is set to move. The direction is: early Lok Sabha elections. How early, is now the only question that remains unanswered.
The answer to that question depends on how the Congress party, which heads the UPA government, proposes to deal with two destabilizing forces that have emerged within the ruling coalition.
The first is the group of four Left parties, whose outside support is oxygen for the survival of the government. The second is the DMK, whose leader has conducted himself in so unbecoming a manner in the Ram Sethu matter that it has truly no parallel in the history of Indian democracy.
It is said that, sometimes, a week is too long a period in politics. If we see the political developments in the past few weeks, their combined effect has so completely debilitated the government that it is accurate to say that there is no functioning government at present in Delhi. The entire government machinery is in a state of paralysis due to uncertainty created by the UPA self-destabilisation.
This situation prompts the people to draw an inevitable conclusion: A government that does not function when it is in office, a government that cannot complete its term due to its own internal problems, and a government that has betrayed all the promises it made to the aam aadmi and the kisan, has no right to seek a renewed mandate whenever elections are held.
The people of India are waiting eagerly for the BJP to lift the country, once again, from the morass created by the Congress party. We have a national duty to rise to the occasion. I am sure that the message from Bhopal will be such as will bring hope and confidence not only to our own supporters but also to the people at large.
Three Destabilizing Forces
I mentioned that there are two destabilizing forces in the ruling coalition. As a matter of fact, there is also a third one ― and that is the Congress itself. The instability that has arisen at the Centre is primarily because of the Congress party.
Firstly, the government became unstable because of the inflexible, indefensible and undemocratic stand taken by the Congress with regard to the Indo-US nuclear cooperation deal. Far from taking the nation into confidence and Parliament into confidence on an issue as vital as this, the leadership of the Congress party or the government could not even convince their own key allies.
And, yet, the government seems hell-bent on going ahead with the nuclear deal. This is simply unacceptable. Everybody knows that the government has no mandate in Parliament to operationalise a deal that has been opposed by (a) the BJP and our allies in the NDA; (b) parties in the UNPA; and (c) the Left parties.
The Congress leadership wants to go ahead with the deal since it does not believe in democracy and has no commitment to coalition dharma either. It knows that the government could fall because of its stand-off with the Left parties. It is sticking to its stand on the nuclear deal in spite of this knowledge, in the hope that it would emerge victorious with a larger strength in the Lok Sabha.
This shows that the Congress has never truly believed in the needs of the coalition era. It still believes that it alone has the right to rule the country. Which is why, it ran the UPA government as if it was its own government, even though it had won less than 150 seats in the Lok Sabha. This is in complete contrast to the philosophy that guided, and the style that marked, the way Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee led the NDA government.
Which is why, I have described the Congress party also as a destabilizing force in the UPA government. We know how in the past it has destabilized almost every non-Congress government at the Centre, including those governments that it had pledged to support “unconditionally” for five years.
Expose Congress falsehood on the nuclear deal
Now, it is indulging in the dangerous game of self-destabilisation of the UPA government, put the blame for it on others, and then try to seek a mandate from the people on the basis of a lie ― namely, that the Congress alone wants India’s development, that it alone is committed to India’s energy security, and all others are creating hurdles in the way by opposing the nuclear deal.
Friends, the BJP must firmly counter this false, mischievous and self-serving propaganda. Our party is not opposed to India ’s energy security. How can we be, when we are wedded to the goal of making India a Developed Nation, with accelerated economic growth that benefits one and all? We should tell the people how the Congress party is compromising India ’s National Security by doggedly pursing a flawed and unequal ‘Energy Security’ deal with the United States.
We should educate the people on how the Congress leadership wants to undo the gains of Pokharan II by effectively agreeing to roll back and, ultimately, eliminate India ’s nuclear capability.
The entire nation had felt proud when the Vajpayee government conducted nuclear tests in May 1998. India ’s stature had risen immensely because of that courageous decision, taken in the teeth of opposition from Big Powers.
We were the only party, right since our Jana Sangh days, to demand that India become a nuclear weapons state. We had supported Indira Gandhi at the time of Pokharan I in 1974.
BJP is for a strong and self-respecting India ;
Congress is for a weak and subservient India
In contrast, both Smt. Sonia Gandhi and Dr. Manmohan Singh opposed Pokharan II.
No wonder, they have succumbed to the US pressure to make India accept the NPT through the backdoor, even though every Indian Prime Minister from Indira Gandhi to Atal Bihari Vajpayee had refused to sign this discriminatory treaty.
A proud and self-respecting nation like India should never accept such infringement of our sovereignty. India is not like Pakistan, which has mortgaged its sovereignty to America.
The common man may not fully understand the technicalities of the nuclear deal ― the 123 agreement, the Hyde Act, etc. Nevertheless, the BJP should go on the offensive by telling our patriotic people ― for even ordinary Indians understand the language of patriotism ― that the Congress wants to weaken India’s security and sovereignty whereas the BJP wants to protect and further strengthen them.
A govt that denies Ram’s existence has no right to exist
Friends, the Congress party has destabilized the UPA government also by its blunder in the Ram Sethu issue. It was not an innocent blunder. Rather, it was the natural outcome of a systematic perversion of ‘secularism that the Congress leadership has been carrying out, in its tirade against the BJP. Although Dr. Karunanidhi’s remarks have added fuel to the fire, the question is: Who started the fire? Who was responsible for directing its counsel in the Ram Setu case to file the blasphemous affidavit in the Supreme Court?
The Congress leadership withdrew the affidavit only because of the spirited protest registered by the BJP and many other organizations. But this does not constitute sufficient amends. Both the Prime Minister and the UPA Chairman owe an apology to the nation for this affidavit. Why hasn’t responsibility been fixed on the culture and law ministers?
Our Party should now take the message of all that has happened in the Ram Sethu matter to every nook and corner of our country.
The people will surely teach these pseudo-secularists a proper lesson.
Aam aadmi and kisans will teach the govt a lesson
The country has seen a number of Lok Sabha elections in the past which have been practically single issue elections.
The 1977 election was one which was decided just by the voters' answer to one question: what do you think of the Emergency?
A series of succeeding elections were decided by the following key issues :
1980 : Janata Party's infighting
1984 : Smt. Gandhi's assassinatio
1989 : Bofors Scandal
All the Lok Sabha elections, that followed Tenth General Election of 1991, the Eleventh of 1996, the Twelfth of 1998 were influenced by the Ayodhya issue.
The NDA Government of 1998 did not last long but that brief tenure of 13 th months saw Pokharan II and a credible promise of a Development oriented Good Government. In 1999 therefore NDA got a renewed mandate.
The UPA Government assumed office in 2004. The victory was won in the name of the Aam Aadmi.
The Aam Aadmi today feels extremely betrayed – particularly because of the prices of all essential commodities.
But prices aren't going to be the only issue on which the UPA Government would be in the dock in the impending Lok Sabha election. Unlike in earlier elections, the Fifteenth Elections are going to be a multiple-issue election. To mention a few :
1. Farmers Suicides
2. Dismal failure on the Internal Security front : Repeal of POTA ; Afzal and Madani cases; Massive infiltration from Bangladesh; Serious Naxalite problem.
3. Ram Setu
4. Nuclear Agreement
5. Corruption e.g. Quattrocchi
6. Devaluation of PM's office
7. To all the above issues the opportunistic nature of the UPA has made Stability a vital question. If NDA was a model alliance, the UPA has been a model of what an alliance should not be like. With such a huge majority of UPA Government seems about to go in less than four years. These are the wages of opportunism.
8. Government's failure to conduct foreign policy in a manner as to prevent the rise of anti-India forces in neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Govt’s failure to fight terrorism is self-willed
That the government has no clear policy to fight terrorism is absolutely clear. When the Prime Minister, under foreign pressure, announces India ’s willingness to have a joint anti-terror mechanism with Pakistan , no further proof of its muddled thinking is needed.
But the UPA government’s culpability is greater than what is indicated by lack of clarity. Our charge is that it has no will to counter terrorism with a firm hand because of its misplaced fear of losing minority votes.
Has the UPA government succeeded in cracking, and punishing the guilty in, even a single instance of terrorist attack in the last three years? Ayodhya, Varanasi , Delhi , Bangalore , Manipur, Mumbai, Malegaon , Hyderabad ….why hasn’t the investigation in a single case reached the trial stage, not to speak of conviction?
The UPA’s politics of minorityism has become a major hurdle in India’s fight against terrorism. I charge the government with communalizing India’s campaign against terrorism.
I must also mention here the failure of the Congress-led government at the Centre and the Congress government in Assam to tackle the menace of ULFA terrorists, who are systematically targeting Hindi-speaking people in the state? Isn’t this linked to the larger foreign-inspired conspiracy to change the demography of Assam through infiltration from Bangladesh ?
A government that has betrayed the aam aadmi, a government that has failed on the internal security front, a government that has no concern for India’s national unity, a government that is determined to undo India’s nuclear capability, and a government whose ministers are neck-deep in corruption, has no right to continue in office.
I have no doubt that the people will vote it out in the next elections.
From Bhopal to battlefront: With unity, determination and discipline
Friends, as I said earlier, the people are once again looking to the BJP and the NDA to lead India out of these multiple crises and problems. The people want a change.
The question is: Are we ready to fulfill people’s expectations?
The Bhopal meeting of the National Executive has given a clear answer: Yes, the BJP is ready.
If I look back, I can say without any hesitation that it is in Bhopal that our Party has left the after-effects of the 2004 elections fully and firmly behind.
In this sense, the BJP in September 2007 is now closer to March 1998 and September-October 1999.
In the weeks ahead, together with our present and additional allies in the NDA, we shall present ourselves to the people as a clear, capable and reliable alternative to the UPA in the elections, whenever they are held.
In short, from Bhopal all of us go back to begin work on the coming electoral battle. With unity, determination and discipline, which, traditionally, have been the hallmarks of our party.
Before I conclude I would like to note that this is perhaps the first meeting of the party's National Executive that Atalji has had to miss because of his health. All of us naturally feel distressed about this.
I would like to mention that two days immediately before the commencement of this meeting I was in Tamilnadu. I came back to Delhi on September 20 evening. Shortly after my return I called on Atalji to enquire about his health. He told me then that doctors had advised him to skip Bhopal and take some rest. However, I was very happy to find that his health had improved considerably since I had last met him. I therefore felt gratified when Rajnathji showed me Atalji's own message saying that before long he would be in our midst. Let us all pray that this happens very soon and he continues to lead and guide us as in the past.