Bharatiya Janata Party
National Council Meeting
Friends, we had met in Delhi in January 2008 for the last National Council Meeting.
I can clearly recall when, with your approval on January 20th 2007, I took over responsibility as President. Three years have passed since then. And today’s presidential address in Nagpur after three years, bears a special significance for me. The reason is that right from my childhood days as a bal-swayamsevak in a small village in Uttar Pradesh, I have in my heart always felt a deep reverence and faith for Nagpur even though I had not even seen the city. In this context I feel highly elated in addressing you today in Nagpur as the Party President.
Geographically, Nagpur is said to be located in the centre of the country. In my opinion, Nagpur is not only a geographical centre but has also been the centre of many social, cultural and other nationalist movements dedicated to the nation. 84 years ago in 1925, a light of nationalism was ignited from here which continues to illumine and influence the entire India till date. The sacred memorial of Pujya Dr. Hedgewar and Pujya Shri Guruji even today shines like a light house guiding nationalists. The Nagpur region has also been the karmabhumi of the immortal forbearer of social harmony and the author of the Indian constitution Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar. Let us begin our meeting with salutations to these tall symbols of India’s national and social development.
Not just Nagpur and Vidarbha but for centuries the entire land of Maharashtra has been the flag bearer of nationalism in India.
Whether it was the establishment of the Hindu pad-padshahi by Shivaji Maharaj during the darkest moments in the history of India; or Nana Saheb Peshwa inspiring the first war of independence; or Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak launching the freedom struggle by declaring Purna Swaraj; Swatantrya Veer Sawarkar lighting the lamp of staunch nationalism; the land of Maharashtra has always contributed towards strengthening the struggle of nationalism.
In accordance with their glorious past and the possibility of a golden future, I am confident that the people of Maharashtra will choose development with nationalism and in the forthcoming Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections, will extend full support to the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. A development oriented and nationalist government will come both in the centre and Maharashtra.
This is our last National Council meeting before the Lok Sabha elections and neither will a National Executive Meeting be held prior to the polls. This is our last collective meeting before the elections. It is natural that this meeting should also symbolize a pledge for victory for the BJP led NDA alliance in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. We all should leave this meeting with the resolve and confidence that when we meet again, it will be after establishing a BJP led NDA government.
I would like to remind you that prior to this, our National Council Meeting had taken place in Nagpur on 27th and 28th August 2000. At that point of time, we were in power at the centre and by the time of the next meeting, we will again be in power at the centre under the leadership of respected Shri Lal Krishna Advaniji.
Results of the Assembly Elections
In November and December, assembly elections took place in six states - Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Mizoram and Jammu & Kashmir. For us the election results have been a mixed outcome. While we could not return to power by a small margin even after running a good government in Rajasthan, the results in Delhi were surprisingly contrary to our expectations and would have impacted the mood of our karyakartas across the country.
In Jammu & Kashmir our performance was magnificent and we increased our strength from one to eleven. The impressive victory of the BJP in Jammu has hoisted the flag of nationalism in this separatism inflicted northern state. This remarkable victory has also proved that even today people can support us on our ideological issues. We will play the role of an effective and strong opposition on all issues of public good including the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus.
These election results have also added some glorious chapters to the BJP’s history. I remember that on January 28th 2008, when we had met at the National Council meeting in Delhi, we were filled with excitement after the splendid victories in Gujarat and Himachal. Similarly, the victories in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh enthuse us. The victory in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has shattered the myth that the BJP does not come back to power. Prior to this, in Gujarat, which has remained our stronghold for the last 15 years, we have repeatedly been returning to power and as an exception, in Jharkhand in 2005 and Rajasthan in 2003 (with a brief interregnum of President rule) we have not returned to power in any other state. From this point of view, our victory in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh symbolizes the entry of the BJP into a new era. For the first time in the history of the BJP and Jansangh, we have successful returned to power in two states at the same time. For this, on behalf of the National Council, I congratulate the people, all BJP karyakartas, leaders, State Presidents Shri Vishnu Sai and Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, the incharges and election incharges Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shri Anant Kumar and Shri Venkaiah Naidu. Also especially to the Chief Ministers, Dr. Raman Singh and Shivraj Singh Chauhan.
If we look at the election results of all the states in totality, then we are far ahead of the Congress. We have got more MLAs elected. But we should also learn from this experience that we need to establish stronger bonds with the people. Greater sensitivity and efforts are required to tackle the people’s problems.
Friends, today we cannot remain satisfied by saying that while some countries in the world are moving towards a negative growth rate, if our rate declines by 3-4 percent, it is not a matter of concern for us. I would like to convey to the policy makers of the government of India that given the great size of India and the basic developmental level of our economy, even a 1% decline in the growth rate affects the bread and butter of millions of people. According to an estimate, around one crore people will lose their jobs in the near future. In Tamil Nadu’s Tirupur alone, due to the decline in exports, about ten lac workers are now facing problems of livelihood. A similar problem is also being faced by lacs of workers in the diamond cutting industry of Surat.
If such a crisis is visible across the entire world, why has the government not initiated effective and timely steps in India? I would like to repeat that even in 2001-02, a difficult situation had emerged when the NDA government was in power, but we did not allow its effect to be felt on India.
I would like to remind the UPA government, which is using the international economic crisis as a pretext today, that during the NDA rule, the international economic situation for India was far more critical than this. Immediately after forming the government, we faced economic sanctions in the wake of the Pokhran nuclear tests, and thereafter, we had to face the Kargil war under such circumstances. Despite all this, we neither allowed the growth rate to decline nor allowed inflation or the rate of unemployment to increase. During the time of the NDA, interest rates on home loans and agricultural loans were reduced and the share market marched ahead steadily. I would like to ask the government that today the country is neither facing any sanctions nor any war. Yet the country is facing economic problems. Why unemployment is continuing to increase? The only reason is that this government completely lacks a longterm economic vision.
This government not only lacks a longterm vision for the economy, it is also incapable of keeping an eye over all the scandals that are happening literally under its nose. The nature of the recent financial scam that has been unearthed in Satyam, one of the country’s reputed IT companies, proves that the government is also incapable of controlling problems that are arising out of the fast emerging and expanding corporate world.
The tenure of the UPA government, which came to power in the name of the aam admi, is now coming to an end. If we take the UN Development Report into account, then even today 80% of India’s population earns one US Dollar or less than Rs 50 a day. 25% people have a spending power of less than Rs. 15 per day. About 38% people do not have a source of water close to their homes. Half of the population still lives in mud houses or such inappropriate housing conditions. Around 43% villages are still not connected with proper roads. Is this what we can call economic development?
The common man remained continuously burdened by price rise during the four half years of UPA rule. Today the government claims that prices are coming down. Are prices declining due to the efforts of the government? Prices are coming down due to the global recession and neither is it yielding any relief to the common man as unemployment is also continuously increasing simultaneously. According to a joint survey conducted by the reputed American think tank Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, in 2008 India ranked 115th in the Economic Freedom Index.
Despite all this, the UPA government, on coming to power, virtually put all the important infrastructure related projects started by the NDA government into cold storage. The National Highway Project launched during the tenure of the NDA government was regarded as a milestone in the development of the country. According to the original plan, this project would have been completed by now, but in reality it actually stands far from completion. The reason behind this is that while during the tenure of the NDA 11 KM of road was being constructed everyday, under the UPA government less than 1 KM of road is being constructed daily.
Not only have the pace of projects slowed down, one can also see a decline in the allocations of funds. According to an estimate, today hundreds of crores of rupees for infrastructural projects is entangled merely on account of administrative procedures.
At a time of economic recession, can the country bear the burden of slowdown of infrastructural projects and hundreds of crores of rupees being stuck because of red tapism? The country is being compelled to suffer all this. The UPA government feels that since these were the projects of the NDA government, so even if the roads remain in poor condition or are incomplete, the NDA should not get credit for them. Is it not dishonesty with the nation?
I am not saying this merely for politics. Infact this is the opinion being expressed even by foreign economists as well as economic experts from communist China.
A few days ago, a senior Polit Bureau Member of the Communist Party of China who is also the head of the Shanghai unit of the party, met with me. While discussing the economic recession, I said that if India pushes infrastructure projects for which there is immense potential in the country, then many companies looking for new projects will be attracted to come here. India will in the process benefit from standard projects at lesser costs and this will also help the country emerge out of the recession. While agreeing with this, he added that they were also doing the same thing in China.
However, the UPA government wants to keep all these projects in cold storage merely because the NDA’s name is associated with them.
Friends, the people of the country have now understood about this dishonest game being played against development. Now the NDA government will again come to power, then all these mega developmental projects will again be speedily implemented to help the country recover from the current recession.
I clearly recall that after the UPA government came to power and when Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh went to Mumbai, then he had said that he would ensure that Mumbai becomes like Shanghai. Friends, the manner in which terrorists created a war like situation between the 26th and 29th November at railway stations, hospitals, hotels, roads and everywhere else, made me wonder whether this was the face of the same Mumbai which the UPA was claiming to make like Shanghai.
Now, finally the government has passed an anti-terror law. It is worth remembering that among the first steps which the UPA government took after coming to power was to repeal POTA. Now in the last phase of its tenure, it had to finally pass an anti-terror law again. This proves that during its entire tenure, the government, which was blinded by vote bank politics, has now accepted the same point that we have been demanding for the last five years.
However, over the last four and a half years, the country has had to pay a heavy price for this. Over the past four and a half years of UPA rule, more than 40 terrorist attacks have taken place. This means that on an average, not even one and half month could elapse without a terrorist incident taking place. Hundreds of people have been killed in these terrorist attacks and every nook and corner of the country has been affected. I would once again like to remind you that even the US State Department had in its report for the year 2007 ranked India as the most terrorism affected country after Iraq. The manner in which the incidents took place on the streets of Mumbai between 26th and 29th November, it appeared as if they were taking place in Iraq’s Baghdad and not in Mumbai.
The government has now also accepted the need for a central investigating agency. The realization for having a new anti-terror law and an agency dawned upon them only after the entire country was literally burning in the flames of terrorism. The government’s policy of tackling terrorism reminds me about the famous “Niti Shatak” by the great scholar Bharthari who had said – “Proddipte Bhavane, Cha Kupa Khananam” – meaning the person whose vision is akin to digging a well only after the building is on fire, leads the entire society towards destruction. The policy of the UPA government is like this.
False Resolve to Fight Terrorism
Over the past few years all the main cities of the country have faced terrorist attacks. In addition to the terrorist attack a few months ago in Mumbai, serial bomb blasts took place in Delhi in September 2008 in which 25 persons were killed and more than 100 were injured. On 19th September the brave inspector Mohan Chandra Sharma was martyred in the Batla House encounter and on 30th October 2008 serial bomb blasts shook four districts of Assam in which 83 persons died and more than 400 were injured. This was the biggest terrorist incident in Assam till date.
Even as all these incidents were taking place across the country, the people need to recall what kind of statements the ministers of the UPA government were making :
When a government having such policies and intentions speaks about dealing with terrorism then it not only comes across as ludicrous but also anguishes one.
Many important developments are taking place in the countries neighbouring India. Today our internal security and our foreign policy towards our neighbouring countries have become two aspects of the same coin. That is why in the last National Council Meeting, I had demanded that the government should formulate a separate foreign policy for our neighbouring countries. The current situation with Pakistan proves the necessity of this.
The facts which have come to light after the terror attack in Mumbai clearly point towards the active involvement of many organisations in Pakistan and also some parts of the government machinery in perpetrating the ongoing terror attacks in India. I would like to ask the Government of India as to whether this is the same Pakistan which the Prime Minister said was a victim of terrorism?
After the terror attack in Mumbai, some statement or the other emanates from the government on a daily basis as if war is about to take place. Then the statement is contradicted only for another statement to appear again after two or three days. The government wants to divert the attention of the people by making such statements. We have already said that in this situation Pakistan will have to take some concrete measures and for this the Government of India should take the international community into confidence and create diplomatic pressure on Pakistan and if there is no outcome even after this, then the alternative of direct action should be resorted to.
I want to ask this government another question – it’s two and half months since the Mumbai attack and the government is continuously raising questions about the terror-network in Pakistan. However, the UPA government should also inform as to how many terror-modules has the central government destroyed within the country over the past two and half months? The government should update the people of the country about the status of investigation of every terrorist attack that has taken place over the last four and a half years, the situation as of now on each case and the details of the success achieved in punishing the perpetrators of these terror acts.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is completely with the government in its attempt to fight terrorism. The leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and the future Prime Minister of the country, respected Shri Advaniji has clearly said that we are united with the government in its fight against terrorism. I have also publicly declared the BJP’s support to the government. But the central government has till date not been able to take a single effective step within the country what to speak about outside. It would not be inappropriate to say that the government’ so called fight against terror is like an empty vessel only making noise.
In Afghanistan, the influence of the Taliban is continuously increasing. The activities taking place in the frontier regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan are definitely a matter of concern. The influence of the Taliban is now not only limited to the North West Frontier and FATA Provinces but has expanded deep into other parts of Pakistan. In this manner it is also coming closer to the Indian border. The Taliban has already made a declaration that in time of war, it will support the Pakistani army against India. The Government of India should take effective measures to deal with this situation.
The LTTE in Sri Lanka is on the verge of a decisive defeat. In this changing scenario, the Sri Lankan government, in a sensitive manner and through dialogue, should work out a political solution to the ethnic conflict keeping in mind the problems and sentiments of the Tamil people. The Government of India should extend full cooperation in this effort to ensure that permanent peace is established in Sri Lanka.
We respect the sovereignty and integrity of Sri Lanka. However, permanent peace and stability in Sri Lanka is can be achieved if the Sri Lankan government devolves power to the Tamil areas according to a federal structure as envisaged in the 1987 peace accord. Moreover, according to the 1987 peace accord, the Tamil people should also be provided power according to the 13th Constitutional Amendment of the Sri Lankan Constitution.
The Bharatiya Janata Party welcomes the return of democracy in Bangladesh. After a gap of seven years including two years of military rule, a new Awami League government led by its president and former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid has come to power in these parliamentary elections. I extend my congratulations to Sheikh Hasina and her new government. We hope that the new government will ensure an end to the terrorist centres operating from Bangladeshi soil against India and pave the way for better bilateral relations. Sheikh Hasina has expressed a commitment for fighting terrorism in South Asia. If Bangladesh honestly and effectively cooperates in this direction, then we can free the entire region from terrorism and herald a new age of peace and prosperity.
The Maoist government in Nepal after assuming power through democratic means, in our opinion has tried to harm the country’s social and cultural set up in an inappropriate manner. Recently, despite court instructions, the manner in which the centuries old system was attempted to be forcibly changed in the world famous temple of Bhagwan Pashupatinath, a major centre of faith for the Hindus across the world, raises doubts about the commitment of the government towards Nepal’s democracy and culture.
The issue is not just about Indian priests but refers to the common cultural heritage between India and Nepal spanning thousands of years and such attempts can inflict damage to these relations. Understanding the gravity of the issue, I immediately spoke with the Prime Minister of Nepal Shri Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and the President Shri Rambaran Yadav over the phone. Having made them aware of my sentiments, I requested them to intervene and immediately restore the status quo.
India never links cultural and religious issues with politics. If Sister Alphonsa or Mother Teresa are declared as saints by the Vatican, we would never oppose this on the ground that such processes should be undertaken only by Indians. The government of Nepal is seeking to lay down an indigenous Nepali procedure for appointment of priests in Pashupatinath Temple, so that they appointment and the recognition of priests can be decided within Nepal. I would like to ask the Government of Nepal, whether they will oppose the appointment of the Archbishop and Cardinals of Nepal by the Vatican, and will they lay down an indigenous Nepali procedure for appointment and recognition of Archbishops and Cardinals as they are trying to do so in the context of Pashupatinath Temple?
The manner in which China has been constantly raising the question of Arunachal Pradesh, has now become a matter of concern for us. The central government which claimed good relations with China throughout its tenure, has not even once been able to adequately respond diplomatically everytime China has summarily rejected India’s claim.
The NDA government under the leadership of Atal ji:
Friends, between the last National Council Meeting and this one, the Indo-US Nuclear Deal has been approved. The central government has claimed that India has become a strategic partner of the US. We are in favour of good relations with all countries including the US. I had demanded that if the US is indeed a strategic partner of India, then it should stop all financial aid to Pakistan until Pakistan effectively acts to control all the terrorist outfits operating from its territory.
The President of the United States Mr Barack Obama immediately after taking his oath, in a foreign policy directive said that it would not be possible for the US to continue providing aid to Pakistan if it failed to stop terror activities from its soil. However, the US has increased non-military aid to Pakistan. In my opinion any kind of aid to Pakistan strengthens the terrorist elements there because the line dividing state and non-state players vis-à-vis terror activities is becoming increasingly unclear.
The Defence Secretary of the United States has also recently said that there is a possibility of a big al qaeda network in Pakistan and if this is proved to be correct, then the US army can even consider a direct attack on Pakistan. Is this situation appropriate for giving additional aid to Pakistan? In my opinion certainly not. Even though, the US administration has slightly reduced the amount of the additional foreign aid to Pakistan, in my opinion the government of India should persuade America that it should not give any additional financial aid to Pakistan.
The new President of the United States has assumed office. On behalf of the Bharatiya Janata Party, I extend my best wishes to President Barak Obama for his tenure and hope that Indo-US relations will get stronger and play an effective role in establishing peace in the world.
Another incident during the oath ceremony of the US President filled every Indian with a sense of pride. From the time of the first US President George Washington, it has been a convention in the US that various religious leaders pray for the President. This time, a lady priest of Indian origin and a respected doctor in America, Dr. Uma Mysorker officially participated in the prayer ceremony. This is yet another indication of the continuously increasing respect for India’s culture in the US and other parts of the world.
The respect and reputation which India enjoyed at the international level during the tenure of the Vajpayee government, has been completely lost under the UPA rule.
The manner in which the Union Home Minister says that he will visit the US to once again show the evidence against Pakistan, illustrates as if India has become helpless under the UPA government.
At the meeting of the Chief Ministers, the Prime Minister said that the government machinery of Pakistan was involved in the Mumbai attack. However, the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that Pakistan’s government machinery was not involved. He also said that proceedings against the accused should be undertaken in Pakistan whereas the Indian government wants the action to be undertaken in India. And if this was not enough, the British Foreign Secretary went to the extent of saying that the Kashmir issue was the root cause of the problem and with its resolution, terrorism would get completely controlled.
Despite this statement being fundamentally in contravention to India’s foreign policy, even then the Government of India has failed to register any effective protest.
The situation in Jharkhand
Friends, in the Jharkhand elections of 2005, the BJP emerged as the single largest party and other parties could not even win half the number of seats won by us. We formed the government, but the manner in which the central government misused the constitutional machinery and abducted the people’s mandate, initiated a tragic political drama that even today has not yet ended. The defeat of Shibu Soren clearly demonstrates the people’s anger against the policies of the Congress and its allies in Jharkhand. I am fully confident that the people of the state, fed up with this kind of ugly political drama, will give a thumping majority to the BJP in the forthcoming assembly elections.
The northeastern region of India is one such area that has not been given due importance by the mainstream political parties. The 26 Lok Sabha seats in the entire region are more than any medium sized state. The area has distinct circumstances and therefore unique problems. The BJP has always been committed towards developing the northeast. Recently, the Asom Gana Parishad, the main opposition party in Assam, the largest state in the region, has declared its alliance with the BJP. I am confident that in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-AGP alliance will record an impressive victory. In addition to this, in other states like Arunachal, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Sikkim and Meghalaya, many political parties may come forward to cooperate with us.
Bangladeshi infiltration is a huge problem in the northeast which has led to demographic changes in many districts of the region. The governments in Assam and the centre have completely failed in resolving this problem.
Today the Home Minister is speaking about scrutinizing the visas granted to Bangladeshis and tightening legal measures. For the last five years, infact not just five years but for the last 30 years, ever since this problem started, the approach of the Congress governments at the centre and in the state has not only been soft but one that actually encouraged infiltration.
The Supreme Court even passed strictures against the government in its decision on the IMDT Act. The Assam Governor’s report has described in detail the unhindered infiltration that is taking place from across the border. Yet the government instead of checking infiltration has helped it by adding provisions of the IMDT Act in the Foreigners’ Act.
Not only this, a minister in the government has spoken about granting citizenship to Bangladeshi infiltrators.
Given this background, the talk by the Congress about taking strong measures against Bangladeshi infiltration is nothing more than a charade.
Friends, today India has emerged as one of the important, largest and fastest growing economies of the world. Yet around 60% of the population is still dependent on agriculture for their livelihood in one way or the other. Therefore, in the absence of proper development of agriculture and the farmers, it would be futile to contemplate about a bright future for India. The land in India is among the most fertile lands of the world and is full of natural resources. In such a situation, any development model that only focuses on the industrial and service sectors while neglecting the agricultural sector, cannot do justice to the real potential of India. That’s why I believe that the actual future of India is embodied within the future of the farmers.
Today, when the salary of top officials of multinational companies has touched lacs of rupees, the average income of the farmer in India is Rs. 503 for his monthly expenses, which is close to the poverty line and of which more than half is spent on food.
According to a report of the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector, 83.6 crore people in the country are not capable of earning even Rs. 20 a day. According to the official figures in a report of the National Sample Survey, the loan on an average farmer family has doubled in the last few years.
For this very Vidarbha region, the Prime Minister had announced a relief package with lots of hype but according to a report by the Government of India’s Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG), even after the announcement of the relief package, the suicides by the farmers in the Vidarbha region have increased. It is clear that farmers have not benefitted from this relief package and loan waiver.
As a result of the UPA’s policies, a situation has emerged over the last few years whereby undertaking agricultural activity is increasingly becoming more expensive. For example, in the Telangana region, the farmers having 5-7 acres of land are also living below the poverty line. Even in a prosperous state like Punjab, 60% of the farmers are burdened with loans. In the Vidarbha region, where the per acre cost of cultivating cotton 15 years ago was Rs 2500, today it has become Rs. 13,000. It is as a result of this that farmers are committing suicide in large numbers or are being compelled to abandon agriculture despite the absence of any alternative employment opportunity.
The tenure of the UPA government has come to an end. It saddens me to note that my demand for a special session of Parliament to discuss the condition of the farmers and the entire agriculture sector which is passing through its worst phase in independent India, was finally not accepted by this government.
We should not think that the problems which are emerging in the agriculture sector will remain confined only to the farmers. If these kinds of policies are allowed to continue, then we may have to face a situation of food crisis in the coming days. Last year we had witnessed a glimpse of shortage of food products. The shortsighted policies of the government are endangering our food security.
Friends, there are three main national parties in India –Congress, Communists and BJP. Among the three, the BJP is the youngest party. The BJP was founded after independence. Our ideology and vision are based on the vision of a new young India which was dreamt by young ascetics like Swami Vivekanand and Sri Aurobindo and for which many youth like Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Bagha Jatin and Vasudev Balwant Phadke had laid down their lives.
Today 70% of the country’s population is less than 35 years of age. Who will address this section, who will take care of the youth?
During the tenure of the NDA, we created impressive employment opportunities and development. According to many reputed international institutions, during the last phase of the NDA government, in the year 2003-04, the highest amount of employment opportunities got created. This provided the youth an opportunity to display their ability and talent in totality.
When former Prime Minister respected Atal ji envisioned making India a developed country by 2020, it was a resolve for young India. Because the youth of today will become the policy makers of India in 2020 and thereafter.
Be it the issue of using new technology or launching a website or connecting the entire party through Information Technology, among all political parties, the BJP has always been in the forefront in relating to the technologically savvy youth.
However, even today, 3/4th of the country’s youth is either living in the rural areas or in urban slums earning livelihood through petty means. While speaking about the youth, we often tend to forget this huge section of youth. We need to pay more attention to this section of the youth.
Today one can see two conflicting expressions of young energy in the country. While young software engineers and scientists in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad are earning laurels for India in the international arena, in Jammu and Kashmir and many parts of the country, they are creating problems by indulging in terrorist activities.
The creative energy of the youth helped establish India as an IT superpower at the international level in the closing years of the 1990s and in the early years of 2000. This path was further paved during the tenure of the NDA government.
On the other hand, the seeds of terrorism were sown in the decade of the 1980’s when the Congress of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi ruled the country with 2/3rd and 3/4th majority.
This clearly exemplifies that only the BJP has the ability to enlighten the youth of the country in the right direction.
Today’s Congress and Gandhi
Yesterday in the National Executive Meeting, I had mentioned that the developmental model for making India’s future glorious should be based on that power of the youth which was envisaged by great thinkers like Mahatma Gandhi and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and inclusive of economic, social, intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual development of the youth.
I had also yesterday said that 100 years ago in his famous book Hind Swaraj, what kind of development model that Mahatma Gandhi had spoken about for the future of India.
Gandhi in his philosophy has categorically said that for the future of India, the principle of “Karma-vaad” is of utmost importance. Only this alone can take the youth of the country in the right direction. The Gandhian concept of karma-vaad is totally based on the principle of the Gita’s nishkaam karma. Tilak, who pioneered the entire political journey of India’s freedom struggle by giving the call for total independence (purna swaraj), has also given the concept of Karmayog Shastra in his famous book Gita Rahasya. In politics, Mahatma Gandhi carried forward the legacy of Tilak. For the fear of being called communal, probably the Congress of today will shy away from even taking the name of the Gita what to speak about the Karmayog Shastra of Tilak and karma vaad of Gandhi.
Today’s Congress does not reflect any of Gandhi’s values and thoughts. I would like to ask my Congress friends, to what extent they have implemented the Gandhian thoughts in their policies while ruling this country for around 50 years? The policies of Congress reflected more the elements of British Raj while the element of Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj was missing. Is there any Gandhian thought left in the conduct of the today’s Congress? In today’s Congress’ thinking neither is there any Hind Swaraj nor Gram Swaraj; no place for villages and no respect for the farmers; no swadeshi cottage industries; no section living a simple life of sacrifice is connected to them; neither is there a swadeshi style nor swadeshi language. And if this not enough, then the very symbol of Gandhian karma vaad, the Srimad Bhagwat Gita is communal and the very basis of Gandhi’s vision of Ram Rajya Bhagwan Ram is also communal. Gandhi’s favourite prayers be it Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram or Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye are totally communal by today’s parameters. If one is to seek any of these aspects of Gandhian ethos in India today, then it can only be found in the ideology of the BJP and in the simple and dedicated lifestyle of several organizations of our parivar.
I would like to ask what does today’s Congress have that was Gandhi’s ? Today probably no leader even wears the khadi of Gandhi. Today’s Congress has nothing related to Gandhi except a family name. All the works associated with Gandhian ethos, if at all are visible, will not be found in that parivar of the Congress but in our parivar. They are only a name while we are the ones who are carrying forward his actual work.
The BJP is serious about providing adequate representation to half of the country’s population. Instead of “Nari-Mukti” (women’s liberation), the party believes in “Nari Shakti” (women’s empowerment). Even today women have to face numerous problems. Over the last six decades, even though literacy of women has increased, it cannot be considered satisfactory. The participation of women in politics today is not to the extent as it should be. We are committed towards providing 33% reservation for women in the legislature. During the tenure of the NDA, we presented this Bill on two occasions, but due to opposition by some political parties, it could not be passed. The participation of women in politics is not just an intellectual exercise. We have expressed our commitment by ensuring 33% participation by women within our organizational structure. The BJP has displayed its credibility of having no difference between what it speaks and practices. In BJP ruled states, we have also implemented 50% reservation for women at the panchayat and municipal levels.
The Bharatiya Janata Party and BJP Scheduled Caste Morcha have always made efforts for the development of the scheduled castes. Our governments have implemented many welfare plans for the benefit of the scheduled castes.
In addition to development, self respect is the other feeling that constantly remains in the minds of the people belonging to the scheduled castes. The Bharatiya Janata Party has always accorded top priority to the self respect of the scheduled castes. On every important post, be it ministers, chief ministers, governors or central ministers and even the Lok Sabha Speaker, we have ensured adequate representation to the scheduled castes.
Shri Ram Janambhoomi and Ram Setu
Five years of the UPA government’s tenure have elapsed, and I feel pained in saying that during these last five years, the government has failed to spare even five minutes for initiating dialogue to resolve the Shri Ram Janambhoomi dispute. No effort, direct or indirect, has been undertaken by the government. On the contrary, in the affidavit filed by the government on the issue of Sri Ram Setu, the government denied the very existence of Maryada Purushottam Bhagwan Ram, something not even the foreign rulers had dared to do.
During the tenure of this government, the kind of contempt that has been displayed towards our cultural symbols, has perhaps never taken place throughout our history.
If you will recall, on January 20th 2006 in my Presidential Address at the first National Council Meeting in Delhi, I had cited the example of the Wailing Wall in Israel. Today I will cite another example. If you will visit Bangkok, the new airport there is called Swarnabhoomi Airport, and on entering the airport, one can see a beautiful mural depicting the scene of the “Sagar Manthan” as enumerated in the Vishnu Purana and Devi Bhagawata. Just imagine if such a proposal comes for any airport in India, then all the so called secularists would see communalism in it. Prior to this, the government of Sri Lanka authenticated places associated with Bhagwan Rama and the Ramayana.
It is painful to note that our cultural symbols are respected outside India but to seek respect for them within our country is considered communal. After 60 years of independence, at least now we should come out of the colonial mindset that sought to instill an inferiority complex within us.
Successful launch of Chandrayaan
Friends, over the last few days, with their expertise and perseverance, our space scientists made history when India successfully launched its first unmanned space craft to the moon. With this, India has become the sixth nation of the world to send its mission to the moon. For this historical achievement, I extend my felicitations and greetings to the Chairman of ISRO, G Madhavan Nair and his entire team of scientists and engineers. For the BJP, it a matter of even more pride since the project was initiated under the leadership of Atalji during the tenure of the NDA.
NDA versus UPA
Friends, today in the country one witnesses a political polarization between two broad alliances. One is the Congress led UPA and the other is the BJP led NDA alliance.
The UPA alliance is an opportunistic, self-centered and full of internal contradictions alliance which has severely harmed the interests of the country during its tenure.
On the other hand, the NDA over the last 10 years has been working as a stable and positive alliance. Our allies have a long history of cooperation with the BJP. Our alliance with the Shiv Sena is more than 20 years old. Our alliance with the JD(U) has been for the last 14 years. The Shiromani Akali Dal has been our ally for twelve years and we have been working with the Biju Janata Dal for the last 10 years. Has the Congress been able to keep its allies together for such a long period of time?
Recently some more allies have joined the BJP. In Haryana, the Indian National Lok Dal led by Shri Om Prakash Chautala has announced their joining the NDA. In Assam, the Asom Gana Parishad has declared that it will be contesting the forthcoming Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections in alliance with the BJP. In the coming days, you will see a further expansion of the NDA.
The examples of the better condition of the country during the tenure of the NDA and the deteriorating condition of the country under the UPA are given below:
If we study the UPA government’s entire tenure, one finds that development has fallen, employment opportunities have reduced, international stature has declined, security got destroyed, the entire economy is in shambles, and above all, the government has even denied the existence Lord Ram. In a single sentence it can be said that “UPA sarkar ne kiya kaam tamam; aam admi ko na maya (economy) mili na Ram”.
After comparing the two, the people of the country can themselves decide as to under which alliance the future of the nation will be secure. I challenge the UPA government to name even a single task undertaken by it which will have a significant positive impact on the future of the country.
The people’s anger against the UPA has been witnessed clearly over the last few years. In the last two years, out of the 17 state assembly elections held, UPA lost 11 and Congress on its own managed to win only 4.
The NDA has unanimously declared senior BJP leader respected Lal Krishna Advaniji as its prime ministerial candidate. Respected Advaniji is not only one of the most experienced and senior leaders of the country, but the kind of commitment and dedication that he has displayed by retaining a clean image in over 50 years of his political life, is a lesson for us to emulate and follow. Without doubt no other alliance or party has a leader of such maturity and vision as the NDA has in respected Shri Advaniji.
Over the last few years, we have jointly steered the BJP through various situations, and marching ahead we have effectively strengthened our position throughout the country.
We have not only geographically and politically expanded but also added a new chapter in terms of organizational expansion. For the first time in history, booth committees have been constituted. Today, throughout the country, we have constituted our units on more than 65% of the booths. In many states like Gujarat and Himachal, more than 90 to 95% booth committees have been formed.
Today the electoral process for the Lok Sabha elections have commenced. In the BJP’s history, the forthcoming Lok Sabha will be the most significant and extraordinary. After our formation, we did not have any significant role to play in national politics in the elections that we fought in the decade of the 1980s. Between 1989 and 1999, we contested elections either on ideological issues or on the plea that Vajpayee ji should get a chance to be the Prime Minister of the country. In 2004, we contested the elections on the issue of development. The 2009 elections are important for us from all the three perspectives. This means that we will have to formulate an integrated strategy for the forthcoming elections. By integrating our ideological base, capacity to offer good governance (sushashan) and the strength of alliance and organization, we will definitely be able to get the people’s mandate.
Today India is facing challenges from within, challenges from across the border, the economy is in difficulty, capital is in shortage, and in addition to all this, there is a crisis of credibility among the political parties. As a result of globalization, there is also a cultural crisis in the country in terms of social and family values. This year, on the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on 23rd January, I read in a newspaper that today there is a large section of such children who are not aware about Netaji. One child said he was a cabinet minister while another said that he was a police officer. I am trying to say that in the post independence era, today we are passing through a really critical phase. At the time of elections, such a situation can be both a challenge as well as opportunity for us. The entire nation is looking at us to find answers to these challenges. If the BJP fails to respond to these challenges, then rest assured, no other political party will have a solution for them.
If by galvanizing our organizational powers we are successful in this election, respond to all these challenges and take the country out of these crises, then we will be considered as architects of history in the years to come.
I am fully confident that all of us as BJP karyakartas will eventually do well in our efforts and be successful in this election, and on the coming 15th August, respected Advaniji will address the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort.
"Senani karo prayan abhay, bhavi itihas tumhara hai.
Sab nakhat ama ke bujhte hain, sara akash tumhara hai."