Bharatiya Janata Party National Executive Meeting
12-13 June, 2010
Respected Advani ji, colleagues on the dais and fellow delegates,
This is the first meeting of the new National Executive. I congratulate you all on your nomination to this important party forum and wish you every success in making a significant contribution not only in the deliberations of the meeting of this body, but also in the field. To be a member of the National Executive of BJP is not a small thing at all. It is an opportunity for all of us to prove ourselves as functionaries dedicated to the mission of Bharatiya Janata Party. As I have always been appealing to our members let us each try to be a self start engine. Let us not wait for somebody to give you orders and instructions. Start working for redressing the grievances of the people. Identify yourself with the masses, empathize with their agonies and aspirations, work in the field, contribute through your intellect, give new ideas and be articulate while presenting Party’s view points. The character of political activism is undergoing changes. Let us try to be adept at this transformation. It is only by cultivating political activism through diverse ways that you can empower yourself. If you are empowered, Party will automatically be empowered. Once again, I congratulate you and wish you all the best.
BIHAR: Land of Rich Heritage
Friends, I consider it a great privilege to welcome you here in Patna Sahib, the capital of Bihar. Both, the state of Bihar and this historic city of Pataliputra have a place of pride in our history right since the ancient times. This is the land of Mahatma Gautam Buddha, as also that of several great heroes like Chandragupta Maurya and Arya Chanakya. It is this land that produced great sons and daughters of Bharatmata like Bhagvan Mahavir, Guru Gobind Singh, Majrul Haque, Babu Kunwar singh, Babu Rajendra Prasad, Ram Dhari Singh Dinkar, Kavi Sadanand Saraswati, , Babu JagJivan Ram, Shri. Jayprakash Narayan and Smt Prabhavati ji, as well as Shri Karpoori Thakur are held in the highest esteem by the nation. At the outset, I salute this sacred land before moving further.
Gautam Buddha’s teachings of peace, harmony and sacrifice have their own place in the making of Indian ethos. His ultimate message to disciples was “Atta deepa bhav” or Atma Deepo Bhav, and its eternal relevance can never be forgotten. From Mahatma Gandhi to Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar, Buddha’s teachings influenced hundreds of philosophers and thinkers, making millions of people in the world follow Buddhism. Gandhi’s struggle at Champaran on behalf of the indigo farmers gnaws at my heart even today. Great Centres of learning such as Nalanda and the spiritual centre that Rajgir are gems in Bihar.
When we come to Bihar, very naturally we all remember Jayprakash Narayan. Like many of you here, I was also deeply influenced in my college days by JP, especially when he provided leadership to a popular movement for total transformation. Nation will always be grateful to him for his contribution in restoring democracy fighting the draconian rule of emergency. The city of Patana and more particularly the historic Gandhi Maidan have been witnesses to the mass mobilizations on JP’s calls.
Nanaji and Bhaironsingh Ji
While talking about JP and the 1974 movement, the thought of Late Nanaji Deshmukh naturally comes to our mind. Again, it was here that Nanaji braved the police lathi charge and saved JP. In the sad demise of Nanaji, this nation and we in the BJP have lost a great leader who had the courage of practicing all that he preached. He demonstrated as to how even after sixty, one can effectively contribute for nation building even while moving beyond party politics. His innumerable and highly successful experiments in rural resurgence in Chitrakoot continue to inspire thousands of young people desirous of doing something concrete for creating a developed India. Through his work, he demonstrated as to how wonders are created when commitment and caliber go hand in hand. I pay my respects to this modern sage of India.
A few weeks back we also lost one of our very senior leaders, Bhaironsingh ji Shekhawat. His contribution in the making of Modern Rajasthan can never be forgotten. He was a statesman in true sense of the term. From Chief Minister to Vice President, he added grace to every position that he held. During the Jan Sangh days, he stood by the party directive even in the face of stiff opposition from a large section of the party on the issue of land reforms. For him Party and ideology were above everything. While offering my Pranams to both the departed leaders, I appeal all my fellow karyakartas to emulate the examples of abiding by high ideals set by them.
Bihar’s Onward March
Friends, we are in Bihar today and let me tell you that for the first time Bihar witnesses a government that is functioning and bringing the desired results. Previous rulers in Bihar had embarrassed the people with their insensitive and inefficient rule. Many in the world knew Bihar only as the initial alphabet of the acronym BIMARU. In the NDA rule, under the leadership of Nitish Kumar and Sushil Kumar Modi, Bihar has been converted into a jujharuu state. I must congratulate the NDA leadership here for making every Bihari a proud citizen of a state that has witnessed a phenomenal 11% growth rate. I specially congratulate the state’s Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and all his colleagues in the cabinet who have collectively presided over this new miracle economy of the country. Remember, that bad governance had taken Bihar to a negative growth rate between 5 to 15% and from there NDA has brought it to a positive 11%. I am sure, in the days to come people in Bihar will once again repose their confidence in NDA and make Bihar known internationally for its phenomenal success.
UPA-2: Year of Misgovernance
Friends, UPA-2 has completed one year in office. On the backdrop of the all round failure of the UPA-2 in its first year, it is worth pondering over this entire year of inaction. While actions like publishing a Report Card are certainly not unwelcome, it is also true that a brilliant student shows his merit through his actions and not through Report Cards. The Congress had promised to control prices of essential commodities in 100 days whereas the prices have increased by 100 per cent. The Prime Minister promised double digit growth rate, instead the government has achieved double digit inflation.
In the commodities exchange, forward trading resulted in only 0.3 per cent actual delivery and 99.7 per cent of transactions ended in speculation and manipulation. Wheat, sugar, cotton, oils and may other items are artificially managed to profit middlemen and hoarders. We have demanded that essential commodities be taken out of the purview of commodities exchange. But still the UPA is not paying heed to our demand simply because it has some vested interests in continuing with the status quo.
UPA-2’s first year in office was a year of mis governance. Earlier, the Congress used to blame the obstacles created by the previous UPA partners—more particularly the Communist parties -- for their collective failures. Today, the Congress can just not escape the blame. Unlike NDA Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the political leadership of the UPA has no moral courage to seek answers from any of its constituent party ministers, be it the Agriculture Minister, Civil Aviation Minister, Communications Minister or even the Railway Minister. “We-will-not-seek answers, you-do-not-raise-questions” seems to be the unwritten understanding of this government.
UPA-2 started with a sheer lack of political judgment on Telangana, Later there has been a series of failures. The UPA government failed in --
All in all, it turned out to be a super flop show. This mis governance, among other things is the result of some basic incongruities of this regime. The singularly most incongruent factor of the UPA regime is the fact that its administrative leadership lacks in political will and its presiding political deity has no exposure to the intricacies of governance. This has made things worse for the people of India and unfortunately, no advisory mechanisms can clear the mess that this has created. The integrity and the intentions of the government are thoroughly questionable.
Elections in Britain
Friends, on behalf of the BJP, I congratulate Britain’s new Prime Minister David Cameron and welcome the formation of a Conservative-Liberal Government. That the new Government is committed to “enhanced partnership with India” is gratifying. It should be a partnership between a new India and a new Britain that factors in the realities of the 21st century. Interestingly, the recent British parliamentary elections have highlighted the flaws of the first-past-the-post electoral system. The BJP has for long been seeking a national debate on reforming our electoral system to avoid the pitfalls of a fractured mandate or a mandate that does not reflect the national mood. Perhaps this could be a trigger for reviving the debate.
Situation in our neighbourhood
In Nepal, the situation is still in a flux. We desire peace and stability in this traditionally very close neighboring country. On the backdrop of political strife and tensions once again afflicting this Himalayan nation, we appeal government of India to extend all possible help for the cause of political stability in Nepal. Government of India should be conscious of the attempts by the Maoists to interfere in the religious affairs as when they removed the Indian priests in the Pashupatinath Mandir. We welcome all efforts for integrating Maoists cadre in civil society as also all administrative and other measures for undoing the injustice meted out to the people in the recent past. It is in the interest of the people in this entire region that the dominance of those who believe in violence is reduced and rule of law is further consolidated.
In Pakistan, things are far from normal. The yawning gap between the assurances of the Pakistan government and their actions continues to be very wide. Unfortunately, the Indian government also has failed in giving a clear message to Pakistan that it will have to pay a heavy price if it continues aiding and abetting the terrorist. A crisis of courage of conviction in the government has added to the complications on a gamut of issues concerning India-Pakistan relations. Our official warnings to our recalcitrant neighbour have proved to be hollow as there is an absolute lack of clarity. It is disappointing to observe the muted reaction of the Indian government to the mock trials in Pakistan and their failure to pin down the terror masterminds While our Prime Minister has encouraged moving forward with talks, his Home Minister has gone on record not favouring a dialogue. We in the BJP feel that engaging in talks will remain futile until Pakistan takes concrete steps to wipe out the terror network operating on its soil. The impression gaining ground is that our diplomats do talk to Pakistan, but Pakistan listens to us only very selectively. Our position of zero tolerance to terror has been compromised by the confusing if not conflicting view on such a critical subject. The morale of those protecting us at the borders and the para-military who are at the coal face will be undermined.
Srilanka has succeeded in attaining peace by defeating the terrorists, but they have now to win over the hearts of the IDPs. Our leader and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha- Smt Sushma Swaraj- has stated our position to the Srilankan President Shri Rajyapaksa. We demand: The IDPs should be well resettled with honour and dignity. There shall not be any dilution to the 13 amendment to the Srilankan Constitution, thirdly and importantly India’s security considerations on this regions’ peace and security should be respected by Srilanka.
Similarly, our approach towards China is also that of confounding the confusion. During the recent visit of Indian President to China, while India was apparently made to reiterate its ONE CHINA Policy, Indian side apparently could not seek a similar policy statement from China about the fact that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India. There are several instances from the recent past that have created an apprehension that the Indian Government only follows a reactive foreign policy and this situation must change.
Indo-US Strategic Partnership
Much hype has been created about India-US strategic partnership. BJP welcomes any move that will strengthen Indo-US relationship on the basis of protecting mutual interest and addressing concerns of each other. While we believe that India and the US have much to gain from a strategic relationship based on mutual interests and equality, the UPA Government appears to have become hostage to American interests at the cost of our national interests. In fact, India-US relations have now become a cover for promoting American interests in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as for promoting Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan, apart from pandering to Islamabad’s absurd demands. Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee had taken India-US relations to a new level of mutual respect and strategic advantage accruing to India. The gains of the NDA years have been squandered by a pusillanimous UPA Government which is eager to do America’s bidding without reciprocal gains. For example, it is shocking how the Nuclear Liability Bill is being drafted to accommodate American business interests by cutting corners with our national interests; worse, it amounts to discounting the value of Indian lives.
We caution the government that people of India will never accept any deal or agreement with the US that will rob India of its strategic autonomy, flexibility and space for diplomatic maneuver in its foreign policy. There are several instances from the recent past that have created an apprehension that the Indian Government only follows a reactive foreign policy.
Verdict on Bhopal Gas Tragedy
It will certainly not be out of place here to reiterate BJP’s strong opposition to the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill. After the recent verdict on Bhopal Gas tragedy, the danger of capping the liability through such legislation has become more pronounced. Revelations by a former CBI official B R Lall about how the then government at the centre had tried to protect the Union Carbide management more particularly Mr.Warren Anderson, the fugitive CEO of the company; are horrific to say the least. This is the latest example of how those swearing by Aaam Aadmi day in and day out are in fact stabbing the very commoners in their back. The Bhopal gas verdict is a cruel joke by our criminal justice system. BJP demands that the government should again knock the doors of the Supreme Court and aggressively seek review of its judgment. Bhopal is yet another example of how inherent weaknesses of our criminal justice system leaves enough room for the culprit go scot free. Bhopal has once again reminded the entire nation as to how Congress rulers from time to time, are compromising with the interest of the people of India for personal and political gains. Bhopal tragedy is the saga of treachery, back stabbing and betrayal. No words are powerful enough to condemn all those who mishandled this issue.
On the internal security front, terrorism refuses to vanish from the list of our common concerns. While legally speaking, the fate of Kasab is still uncertain; new revelations about the inexplicable delay in hanging Afzal Guru have further established the weak-kneed approach of the UPA. Now, in the light of some new truths about the obstacles wantonly put by the former home minister coming to the fore, the Prime Minister owes an explanation to the nation as to why wrong informations was repeatedly given to the people? Ironically, UPA seems to have been bogged down more by the law and order situation after Afzal is hanged and not at all by the reasons for which he was put behind the bars. Here is a government that is more worried about the death of a dreaded criminal waging war on us, than about the lives of those who abide by laws.
The Naxal Threat
Besides, Naxal threat also continues to pose a very severe challenge before all of us. At umpteenth number of occasions BJP has said it in so many words that it will support any move by this government to effectively overcome the Naxal menace. And yet, the government appears confused and unfocussed. The internal security establishment seems to have failed in envisaging the gravity of this menace. While actions for economic and social development in all the underdeveloped areas mainly inhabited by the tribal communities are always wanted, they alone are not a guarantee for overcoming the Naxal threat. While Naxals are and have been openly challenging the authority of the governments, some of those in UPA are making statements that are sympathetic to the Naxals. This dilemma in the approach is sending wrong signals. While on the one hand, these moves are causing a demoralizing impact on the police and para-military forces; on the other they are emboldening the Naxals. Let me warn the UPA that through these deliberate attempts of showing sympathy to both the Naxals and victims of their violence, you are playing with fire. This approach also betrays the lack of seriousness on the part of the government.
We are particularly perturbed by the merciless killings of innocents in Dantewada as also in the attack on Gyaneshwari Express in Midanapore district. Unfortunately, most of the national and international champions of Human Rights remain silent when Naxals deny the very fundamental right to life to hundreds of innocent people. Bharatiya Janata Party appeals the human rights activists not to be selective while condemning Human rights violations. In order to educate people about the indulgence of the Naxals in mindless cruelty and rampant injustice, I appeal to our state units to organize jan sunvai type programmes where victims of Naxal barbarism should be sharing their agony with the people. Naxals enjoy some support in the intelligentsia and sections of the society mainly because they are largely ignorant about these aspects of Naxal activism. It is our duty to enlighten the masses about the same.
Congress betrays the Scheduled Castes
The recent events of social strife in Haryana are a matter of great concern. The incidents that happened in Mirchpur are highly condemnable. The victims are still living in Delhi in fear. The Congress government in Haryana has been insensitive and has failed to reassure the affected families to return to their homes.
CBI - Congress Bureau of Intimidation
While the nation is facing innumerable threats to its internal security, government is forcing the CBI to work for its political designs. The CBI has become a tool of intimidation. The latest revelation by an officer in the context of the Bhopal tragedy has reinforced our fear that the Congress is continuing this strategy to cow down opponents or to let free from our law their acquaintances– Quatrrochhi, Anderson. This proves that their commitment is not for the people of India. We in the BJP strongly demand a JPC probe into the misuse of the CBI.
Neglect of the Farm Sectors
There is a long history of neglect of agriculture under the Congress regime. As regards agriculture, water and rural development has never gone beyond slogan mongering. While farmers are denied appropriate prices for their produce consumers are made to pay through their nose. In the recent past in the Congress ruled states as well as in Uttar Pradesh, procurement of wheat didn’t happen on time, thus resulting in distress selling any new crop comes to the g by the farmers. This further was aggravated by the lack of adequate storage facility in the rural areas and in the market yards. There was a lack of a significant market intervention strategy too. In this context, I appeal to our party workers to make it a point to visit public procurement centres whenever any new crop comes into the market. We have to ensure that farmers get their due without corrupt practices harassing them.
The Prime Minister has frequently referred to green revolution. But neither has he shown the will to move forward on this agenda nor has he revealed any blue print. The Minister for Agriculture has admitted that grains worth Rs 58000 crores goes rotten every year. Let me share here some of my ideas on agricultural development. Water is the key to farm development. BJP demands that irrigation should be placed in the concurrent list so as to effectively manage flood and drought. It is a pity that in India, farmers do not get quality seeds easily. Only a few days back farmers in Jodhpur had to brave lathi charge only because they were demanding quality seeds. The government has to take issues such as agri-finance very seriously. Let me assure you that in the BJP ruled states we have a comprehensive agricultural development strategy in place which is already showing tangible results in Gujarat, Bihar and Chhattisgarh and other BJP ruled states.
Situation in Manipur
Like you all, I am extremely perturbed about the situation in Manipur. For the last over 70 days Manipur is facing road blockade and life has become a misery for our brethren in Manipur. The blockade that started on April 11 was initially organised by Naga student bodies and some Naga nationalist civil society organisations in protest against the decision of the Manipur state government to hold elections to the Manipur Hill Areas Autonomous District Councils (ADC). We believe that the Naga leader Thuingaleng Muivah has played a dangerous game first by announcing his desire to visit his home village in Manipur and later by joining the blockade. It is highly deplorable that Naga groups are allowed to hold the entire state of Manipur to ransom and the central government is just a spectator watching the hapless condition of the people of Manipur. While the genuine demands of Nagas certainly merit attention, politics of blockade has no place in a democratic polity.
We express our complete solidarity with the people of Manipur and ask the central government to show the same kind of sensitivity that it shows for the people of Kashmir valley. BJP demands that the central government should give a clear message that the nation sympathises with the people in Manipur through actions such as opening of alternate road accesses, air-dropping of food grains and essential commodities as well as a visit to Imphal by the Prime Minister to address the concerns of the people and in the process inculcate confidence in them. BJP warns the government that if it allows further worsening of the situation, secessionist leaders from both the states will exploit the popular anger, giving further fillip to greater unrest and violence. I also appeal to all our party workers especially in metro cities where Manipuri students are in good number to go and meet Manipuri youth and communicate to them that people from other parts of the country are with them. BJP will observe 23 June, the death anniversary of Dr. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee as Manipur Solidarity Day and our workers in all capital cities will be fasting on that day while staging a day long dharna.
War on Price Rise
Friends, I am happy that we could mobilize masses on the issue of spiraling prices and successfully gave vent to the popular anguish when we marched to the parliament in Delhi in April last. Price rise is an issue about which people need to be educated extensively and I am happy we could do that in multiple ways. We have not only highlighted the fact that this price rise is the result of wrong economic policies and fiscal mismanagement but also established the utter insensitivity of the government that has allowed rottening of lacks of tonnes of wheat. We have also very successfully highlighted the miseries of the potato growers. But unfortunately, this government has become so very unmindful of the hardships of the people that it has again added to their miseries. The rise in the prices of petrol, diesel and gas which is in the offing is adding insult to injury. Remember whenever the Congress is in power the prices always reach the sky. BJP condemns this price hike and warns the UPA that flames of rising popular anger against price rise will burn the mandate of this government to ashes sooner than later.
At this juncture, let me remind you all that our national campaign against price rise has still not ended. Crores of signatures we have collected on our memorandum to the President of India shall be presented to the Mahamihim Rashtrapati during the forthcoming monsoon session of the Parliament.
Let me now dwell upon some of our new initiatives and the progress that we have made on those fronts. In Indore, we had talked about more impetus to Good Governance. We have now become the first and the only party that has a Governance Cell, dedicated to provide all assistance to our governments to better their performance. Former Chief Minister of Goa, Shri.Manohar Parrikar is the convener of this cell. I am happy that recently a Suraj sankalp Convention was held under the auspices of this cell in Mumbai. At this convention, we have once again committed ourselves to what is now being described as People-Oriented Pro-active Good Governance. All the BJP Chief Ministers and Deputy Chief Ministers besides over 60 ministers belonging to eight states along with some senior party functionaries in states as well as at the centre had participated in this two-day convention held at the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini. This was the first of its type convention and the Suraj Sankalp or the Declaration of Determination that we have adopted at this convention reflects our resolve to provide Governance with a difference. We have committed ourselves to pro-people pro-active good governance (p2g2). It is a matter of great pleasure that days before this convention, leading TV channel has nominated three BJP Chief Ministers as from amongst the best five CMs in the country. I congratulate all the BJP Governments for their success and wish them every success in implementing the Suraj Sankalp. Let me highlight a few milestones achieved in the various states: The national average agricultural growth is only 2%, while in BJP ruled states like Bihar and Gujarat, it is several times above the same. In Gujarat, it has been consistently 9.5% from 2002 to till date. Karnataka successfully organized the Global Investors Meet which has brought in investors focus to this state. In this era of environmental consciousness our government in Himachal has made great strides and earned carbon points which certify their effective management. Chhattisgarh’s impressive use of technology in making their Public Distribution System transparent to perform on time and efficiently.
We believe that Good governance is not confined only to public administration. It is relevant in managing our Party affairs as well. For that we have to galvanize our own Human Resources Development mechanism. In this regard our training cell has already started functioning in right earnestness. A report about whatever has already been done by the cell and also its future plans will be presented in this meeting. This Cell is all set to launch in July 2010, a three-year structured training programme for the party cadres. We have an ambitious plan to train 10,000 party workers in the current year. This Cell also launches its e-Training from Vijayadashami 2010. Similarly, we have also made a modest beginning on the front of Antyodaya, our unique initiative for reinstating social service as a part of political work. Besides, our platform for non-member well wishers of the Party known as Friends-of-BJP has also started functioning. Reports on Antyodaya will be presented in this session. Besides, we had also held a meeting of all our State Finance Ministers to discuss matters pertaining to GST. Also, a special committee on Tribal issues that was formed after a meeting of all Tribal affairs Ministers from BJP ruled states is now giving final shape to its report. A committee under the leadership of Bhagat ji Singh Koshiyari has already gone into the issues regarding our border security in the northern region and that will be presented here before you.
Friends, during the last six months after I was given this responsibility, I have travelled across the country from Chennai to Chandigarh and Guwahati to Goa. I have met not only our party workers but also interacted with several opinion makers and prominent citizens wherever I went. There is a groundswell of good wishes for the BJP. We have supporters in every section and strata of the society. Crores of countrymen have great hopes from all of us. They want BJP to keep its distinct identity intact. To be cynic is easy. Those who give up their efforts to be different or making a great difference lack in the courage of conviction. We are all optimists but our optimism is not and cannot be just a pious hope. We have to plan our path to make BJP accomplish its historic mission. Some thirty five years before, Delhi had heard the slogan Singhasan khali Karo ki janata aye hai..! Although this slogan was raised in Delhi, it had its origins in Patna, in the movement led by JP. Thirty five years after, if we look around; we have a different kind of emergency which the product of misgovernance at the centre. Once gain we have to raise our voice and ask the UPA government to perform or perish. Let us prepare ourselves to this long drawn struggle.
Bihar has shown to the world where there is political will it is possible to make a good turn around – During this NDA rule, Bihar’s all round performance has been historic, unprecedented, and spectacular. This performance is emulate worthy. For a sukhi and samruddhi Bharat, we need suraj and sushashan. In states where we are in power we have proved that we are working towards these goals. We should go to the people to show how Congress spells vinash while BJP brings vikas.
Bharat Mata ki Jai.