Presidential Address by Shri Nitin Gadkari
Meeting of the National Executive
Mumbai – 24-25 May 2012
Lets Consolidate and Expand to fulfill People’s Expectations
The National Executive of the Bharatiya Janata Party is meeting in Mumbai after a gap of many years. The principal purpose of this meeting is to begin our preparations for the next Lok Sabha elections, irrespective of whether they are held in 2014 or earlier.
In these elections I see nothing but a clear mandate. Let’s begin the preparation for our Vijay Yatra from the shores of Sindhu-Sagar, here in Mumbai.
Two days back, on 22nd May, the Congress-led UPA completed eight years in office. It has become a lame-duck government.When farmers are committing suicide, rupee is falling, essential commodities are getting costlier, and the UPA is celebrating mindlessly. From Mumbai, the BJP sends out a message loud and clear to this corrupt, scandal-ridden, anti-poor, anti-development and increasingly unpopular government: “Your days are numbered. People of India cannot afford to have any more of your misrule. And they have made up their mind to throw you out- lock, stock and barrel. It’s time for the BJP-led NDA to come back, clear the mess you have created, and take the nation on the path to progress”.
Atalji, our source of inspiration
Mumbai has a proud place in the history of the BJP. It was here that the first plenary session of the party under the leadership of Shraddheya Atalji was held in December 1980 after it was founded in April that year.
All of us are today missing Atalji’s presence in our midst. His blessings are always with us. We wish him a speedy recovery and long life.
Today the BJP’s return to power has become a national necessity. We must succeed in discharging this duty. Political situation in the country and also the people’s mood are supportive of the BJP’s comeback, provided we gear up to seize this opportunity.
Not Euro zone but UPA-zone is the cause of India’s current economic woes
The people of India are looking to the BJP with high hopes and expectations. Indeed, their expectations from the BJP are rising directly proportional to their disillusionment and anger with the Congress. The reign of the government of UPA has been a shameful saga of corruption scandals, failures and betrayals.
The worst victim of the UPA government’s betrayal is the aam aadmi, who is reeling under the burden of unprecedented and unrelieved price rise. As if the pain already being experienced by the poor and middle-classes were not enough, the government has now increased the petrol prices. This is another example of the government’s utter insensitivity.
Under the leadership of our economist-Prime Minister, the India Rupee is in a state of free fall. The rupee may soon go down to 60 against the US dollar. India’s hard-earned forex reserves are under tremendous pressure. Wrong policies of the government are forcing Indian entrepreneurs to look for investment destinations abroad.
Predictably, government spokespersons are blaming external factors for the problems in the Indian economy. This is sheer escapism. The root cause of India’s problems is not the EUROZONE; but it is the UPA-ZONE. The fact of the matter is that there is complete paralysis of decision-making and policy-formulation in the government. In the absence of strong leadership the situation has further worsened.
Another indicator of the UPA government’s misrule is the unprecedented deterioration in the Centre-State relations. Several non-Congress Chief Ministers have complained that arrogance of Congress leadership at the Centre has reduced state governments to the level of municipal bodies. This is totally unacceptable to the BJP. It is in complete contrast with the harmonious development of Centre-State relations during the NDA government headed by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Congress has created problems: BJP will provide solutions
The BJP believes that there is an urgent need to radically change the policy priorities of India’s economic growth in favour of sustainable development, employment generation, agriculture, rural development, informal sectors of the economy, SCs, STs, other deprived sections of society, and also the poor belonging to the upper castes and minorities.
This cannot be expected from the Congress, which has given them nothing but false hopes
There is also an urgent need to effectively address, with both short-term and long-term measures, critical challenges such as WATER SECURITY, ENERGY SECURITY, and FOOD SECURITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY.
As we are having this meeting in Maharashtra, large parts of the state are reeling under a severe drought. This has become a recurring phenomenon. The state government has once again resorted to the ‘Water Tanker’ solution’ to this problem. Water does not reach the villages because the Tanker, predictably, ‘leaks’. Indeed, the Tanker solution has an in-built design to ensure leakage, so that corrupt bureaucrats, politicians and contractors can siphon off crores of rupees of public money.
I am using the ‘Tanker’ solution as a metaphor. For it shows what is happening in almost all the development and welfare schemes introduced by the Congress — NAREGA, NRHM, Indira Awaas Yojana, Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission, and so on.
I believe that all such basic problems can be addressed only by combining our ideology of Nationalism with a strong commitment to Good Governance, Innovation-driven Development and Antyodaya.
I have just returned from a visit to Israel. It’s a tiny nation with less than half of Mumbai’s population and having very little freshwater and hydrocarbon resources. It also faces a constant security threat from its neighbours. And yet, the government and the people of Israel have developed self-reliant solutions to meet the entire population’s needs of water, energy, food, education and healthcare. They have indeed made Israel a world leader in science, technology and innovation.
We need a similar nationalist, self-reliant, development-oriented and innovation-propelled approach in solving India’s problems.
We must provide solutions while highlighting the problems. When people give us the mandate to form government at the Centre, our priorities should include launching of an ambitious national programme, on the lines of Atalji’s National Highway Development Project and the PMGSY, and completion of all the major and minor irrigation projects in a time-bound manner. We should also launch a water conservation mission on a war-footing. With this we will be able to achieve a three -fold increase in India’s agricultural production and transform the rural economy. Similarly, for all major irrigation projects centre and states could pool their resources. By doing so, we will be able to achieve a large scale increase in India’s irrigation capacity.
In the 60th year of the Indian Parliament, we should give a call for an effective parliamentary system. Let us initiate a nationwide debate on how to make Parliament, State Legislatures and Panchayati Raj Institutions more effective and accountable. Let us also present to the nation a blueprint of Electoral Reforms.
Let us popularize the bold initiatives taken by our two state governments —Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh — which were the first to pass an effective and strong Lokayukta Bill in their respective states.
We should not only congratulate our Chhattisgarh Government for its firm and successful handling of the Naxal hostage crisis (involving Alex Paul Menon, a district collector), but also present to the nation our comprehensive approach in dealing with this grave internal security issue.
The BJP/NDA’s commitment to solving problems is evident in the amazing achievements and initiatives of our Gujarat government in boosting agricultural production to record levels, in solving the perennial problem of water scarcity in Saurashtra and Kutch, in showing the way to the nation in solar power, female literacy, tribal welfare, and so on.
This approach is also evident in the adoption of IT for Good Governance in Karnataka, the remarkable improvement in rural health services in Bihar, and the adoption and effective implementation of the Citizens’ Charter in Madhya Pradesh.
All the recent studies have conclusively shown that the states ruled by the BJP/NDA have scored much better than those ruled by the Congress/Left on economic management and governance in the decade of the 2000s. Most of the awards for good governance have gone to the BJP/NDA-ruled states.
BJP’s principled perspective on regional parties
Our approach to regional parties is very clear. We believe that they also have a national perspective. Indeed, many of them were valued partners of the BJP in the National Democratic Alliance.
The lesson of the NDA rule has shown that a stable government is possible only if the ruling coalition has a national and nationalist party like the BJP as its strong anchor. We should educate the people about the risk of instability at the Centre.
We should impress upon the people that instability at the Centre could inflict a heavy price on the nation’s security and economy. Therefore, we should make them understand that a strong BJP-led coalition, based on a common programme, is the only true alternative that can answer their growing desire for change of government in New Delhi.
BJP: a genuine alternative that thePeople of India are looking for
The alternative that the people are looking for has five determinants:
(a)Strong, capable and credible leadership with team spirit that puts the Nation above the Party, and the Party above Self;
(b) Clear Vision about the challenges and opportunities before the nation;
(c) Ability to take the right decisions and implement them with people’s support;
(d) Transparency and honesty in functioning; and
(e) Strong commitment to Rashtravaad (nationalism), Sushaasan (good governance), Vikas (development) and Antyodaya (uplift of the poor and the marginalized).
Our Development Vision, of which ‘Antyodaya’ is the core, places the highest priority for the all-round progress of Gaon, Gareeb, Kisan and Mazdoor. Swami Vivekananda has exhorted us:
“So long as millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every person a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them.”
Our Party will earn the trust of the people to the extent we develop all the above-mentioned qualities in the BJP on a consistent basis — at the Centre, in States and at local levels. Based on the strength of the people’s trust, and the political power that it provides, we will be able to bring about the major transformations in various walks of national life that we have in mind.
We in the BJP should not look at our role in politics from a narrow and short-term perspective. Politics for us is an instrument of far-reaching socio-economic transformation. Let us make ourselves worthy of this role.
Today’s dynastic and corrupt Congress is the chief obstacle to India’s attainment of its full potential for growth and development. For this, it is necessary, first and foremost, to dislodge the Congress.
Our strategic task: Increase the BJP’s vote share by at least 10% and expand the NDA
As I have pointed out on several occasions over the past two years, our strategy to replace the Congress as the principal pole of Indian politics hinges critically on three imperatives: (a) Expansion of the BJP’s support base in states where we have been traditionally weak; (b) Increase in the BJP’s overall vote share by at least 10% on a consistent basis; and (c) Expansion of the NDA.
Both tasks entail necessary action on ideological, political and organizational fronts, at the national as well as at state levels.
There has been some heartening progress in our thinking and action on these issues. Many of our Morchas and Cells have done commendable work in recent months. The Kisan Morcha held a successful Kisan Sansad in the national capital earlier this month. The Bunkar Prakoshth (Weavers’ Cell) recently organized ‘Samar Shankhnaad’, a national conference that gave vent to the plight, and fight, of the weavers’ community. The Fishermen’s Cell has also become active. The Trade and Industry cell organised an event, attended by 500 industrialists, to showcase achievements of BJP governments.
The Mazdoor Mahasangh has organized many agitational activities across the country. One such event held in December last year saw the participation of representatives of more than 500 trade unions.
At each of these conferences and functions, we not merely criticized the government for its failures and betrayals. But also put forward concrete solutions and commitments that the BJP will implement if given an opportunity to form the next government at the Centre. If our vast organizational network takes the message of these activities to the grassroots, it will definitely enhance the goodwill for the BJP among various sections of society.
In the coming months, we have planned huge national conferences of workers in the unorganized sector, teachers and educationists, doctors, lawyers, traders, chartered accountants, etc.
I attach special importance to speedy expansion of our work among the nearly 45 crore workers in the unorganized sector of the economy. We should make agriculture workers, construction workers, porters, rickshaw-pullers, maid servants, and all such people who believe that the BJP is THEIR PARTY.
When we succeed in this task, our vote share will naturally go up by over 10 % on an enduring basis. In this regard I must mention here the recent success of a massive rally in Madurai organised by our Tamilnadu unit. I congratulate the State Unit for this success.
BJP’s performance in recent elections
I now turn to our Party’s electoral performance since we last met.
I call upon all of you to join me in congratulating the state and Mumbai unit of the Party for their resounding success — together with our alliance partners, the Shiv Sena and the Republican Party of India (Athawale) — in the recently held municipal elections in Mumbai and also in several other cities and towns in Maharashtra. This success will surely be a prelude to the Party’s, and our alliance partners', bigger success in the next Vidhan Sabha elections.
Similarly, I take this opportunity to congratulate the Delhi Pradesh BJP for its decisive victory in the just-concluded municipal elections. This victory, too, will be a precursor to the Party’s bigger victory in the Assembly elections, scheduled to be held in 2013.
In neighbouring Goa, the BJP succeeded in ousting the Congress in the recent Assembly elections. I congratulate the Chief Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar, Shri Sripad Naik and Shri Laxmikant Parsekar and all our karyakartas. Our victory in Goa is significant for two reasons. Firstly, we have won a convincing mandate. Hence, there is no scope for the Congress party’s favourite pastime: destabilization of the BJP government. Secondly, our Party has succeeded in winning the support of a large section of the minority communities in Goa, notwithstanding the Congress party’s false and self-serving propaganda that the BJP is anti-minorities. Nine of our MLAs are from minority community.
Learning from the Goa experience, I would like all our Party units to intensify similar efforts to win the trust of our sisters and brothers belonging to minority communities. I have an appeal and a very clear message of assurance: “Do not continue to fall prey to the self-serving propaganda of the Congress and the Communists about the BJP being an anti-Minorities party. You have nothing to fear when a BJP-led alliance forms the next government. We shall care for your security, your development and your welfare. We are committed to ensuring Economic Justice and Social Justice for all Indians, irrespective of their religion, caste, creed, language or gender. This is the lesson we have learnt from Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya’s Integral Humanism.”
Let us also warmly congratulate our colleagues in Punjab, and our alliance partner, the Shiromani Akali Dal, for their highly impressive achievement in winning a renewed mandate in the state.
Let me also tell you that recently in Andhra Pradesh, our Party triumphed in the by-election to the Mehboobnagar assembly constituency, and this is a noteworthy victory.
In Uttarakhand, the BJP came very close to forming the government. We must analyze these results.
Our performance in Uttar Pradesh was below expectations. The people in the state wanted change, but we could not project ourselves as a credible and strong alternative.
Paramount importance of unity and discipline
Even though the BJP’s tally in UP was not on expected lines, our Party still has a very large base and there are potential supporters as well. They will surely shift their allegiance to the BJP in the next parliamentary elections if we make necessary efforts to win them back. Our Party also needs to promote youth at all levels. We have already begun this process.
Our immediate task is to get ready to successfully face the coming assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. Like all our BJP and NDA ruled States Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh governments have earned several laurels for setting new records of Good Governance. Gujarat, in particular, has captured the imagination of the rest of India and the world because of its rapid and all-round development. I am confident that our Party units will triumph in winning the people’s mandate yet again in these two states.
India will elect the 13th President of the republic in July this year. The BJP is striving to create a broad consensus among all the non-Congress parties for fielding a worthy candidate who can, besides safeguarding the Constitution, further add luster to the highest office of the Republic. The Congress party’s chief criterion for selecting its candidate to occupy Rashtrapati Bhavan appears to be loyalty to the Dynasty, and not loyalty to the Constitution. Just as it has devalued other democratic institutions, it also seeks to devalue the office of Rashtrapati. It must not be allowed to succeed this time.
Training of Party karyakartas
I shall now deal with certain organizational matters.
I am happy to share with you that our Training Department is vigorously pushing ahead our training agenda. This year, due to elections in five States we were not able to carry out all our training programmes in a planned manner. We are now all set to move ahead in a big way. My assessment is that our structured training programme has helped the Party in the recently concluded elections. Uttarakhand had held Pravesh Vargs in all its districts, Punjab in all its Vibhags and two state level Vargs were held in Goa. Delhi took more than 30,000 workers through its one-day Mandal Abhyas Vargs held in more than 200 Mandals. The results are there for everyone to see.
The second level of training, called Pragat Vargs is being launched from June 2012. The first Pragat Varg will have the National Executive of our SC Morcha from 15-18 June 2012 in Madhya Pradesh, followed by Andaman & Nicobar and other States. I appeal to all of you that this tempo be maintained. I look forward to Pravesh Vargs and Pragat training Vargs being held in all parts of the country in 2012–2013 also.
Let me on this occasion extend an earnest appeal to our office-bearers at all levels that they have to take the initiative and ensure that training schedules are maintained as per the planning and we achieve the targets that we all have set before us.
The activities of our Good Governance Cell are truly commendable. In April, it organised a first-of-its kind meet of Chairpersons and Members of the State level Khadi and Village Industry Boards and handloom as well as handicraft boards. The Good Governance Cell has also embarked upon a novel idea of showcasing the exceptionally good work done by our governments through monographs and short documentary video films, under a series titled as “The Difference That We made”. The first monograph in this series, on the remarkable success of Chhattisgarh in implementing a novel Procurement and Public Distribution System has already been published. A short film on the success of Gujarat in implementing BRTS in Ahmedabad is being released in this meeting. A monograph on the Environment Protection initiatives in Himachal Pradesh is also being released in this meeting. Similar publications showcasing our success in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab and Goa are also being prepared.
I have asked the Information Technology and Good Governance Cells to jointly organize a national conference soon on the theme of ‘Good Governance Through E-Governance.’
Let me also share with you that our Overseas Friends of BJP are doing excellent work. In November last, OFBJP USA conducted two training sessions for our local activists. As a part of our efforts to promote party-to-party relationship with political parties abroad; we hosted a six-member delegation of the Republican Party of the USA in January this year. This delegation visited Mumbai to participate in an orientation programme organised for them by Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini. They also visited Ahmedabad to witness a few good governance initiatives of the BJP government in Gujarat.
In January, we launched an IP TV or Internet TV channel called YuvaTV. This is a very ambitious initiative of our IT Cell. Through this we are trying to reach out to the youth of the country. As you are aware, youth constitutes almost 35% of our population and we have to make every effort to reach out to them. I appeal all our Yuva Morcha members to enthusiastically participate in the functioning of this channel and use it to respond to the aspirations of our new voters. Let me also mention here that our Ex-Servicemen cell and Defence cell did a wonderful job in reaching out to the voters during the Uttarakhand elections.
BJP’s Vision 2025 document
Ours is not a party that sets its sights only on the next election. Our thinking, goals and commitments are long-term in nature, and they are guided and inspired by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya’s philosophy of ‘Integral Humanism’, which indeed takes a civilisational view of India’s past, present and future.
Accordingly, the Party has decided to prepare, and present to the Nation, a VISION 2025 document. It will project the BJP’s future-focused perspectives, ideas and commitments on a wide range of issues centred on the theme — ‘Making India a Strong, Prosperous and Harmonious Nation, A Shaper of the World’s Destiny in the 21st Century’. The document will contain big and ambitious ideas, and at the same time also a practical roadmap on implementation.
It is my hope that the BJP’s ‘VISION 2025’ document will enable all our karyakartas and supporters to propagate the party’s perspectives and goals on many issues that the thinking people in our country are already seriously debating. It will also be helpful in projecting the image of the BJP as a party with an inspiring vision, which it is committed to implement by uniting the productive energies of the nation.
A task of this nature has to be necessarily participative. It must involve karyakartas and supporters of the BJP all over the country – and also abroad. They can – indeed, they are eager to – contribute to such a project by sharing their valuable ideas and suggestions online. A team has been constituted to prepare the Vision 2025 document. It is expected to complete its task before Deendayalji’s Jayanti – on 25th September.
Deendayal Bhavan: New BJP Mukhyalaya
Let me share with you a very happy development. The government of India is allotting land to all major political parties for their national headquarters. Accordingly, we have been granted a two-acre plot at Deendayal Upadhyay Marg in the national capital. We are now preparing to construct a magnificent office complex on this plot. This will comprise three units dedicated to party administration, training as well as research and development.
A unique feature of this new edifice will be a permanent exhibition depicting the BJP’s ideological and organizational journey so far. This exhibition will showcase our efforts through various agitations for defending India’s unity and integrity. It will remind all of us about how our leaders struggled, and made sacrifices, to protect democracy. Our contribution to the rich heritage of the Indian polity will also be on display in the proposed exhibition hall.
This will be a structure of the Karyakartas, by the Karyakartas and for the Karyakartas! Therefore, it has been decided that this structure will come up through personal contributions made by lakhs of our karyakartas. I take this opportunity to appeal to all of you to join in this historic drive and contribute your mite to this ambitious project.
The year 2013 is important for us on many counts. It marks the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. For millions of people all over the world, Swamiji has been an eternal source of inspiration. I appeal to all the Party units to celebrate this sacred occasion through innovative projects and programmes in every nook and corner of our country and to educate the people about his contribution to India’s national renaissance. Let us demonstrate that, in the field of politics, the BJP is the best Vaahak (carrier) of Swamiji’s message for Jagrut Bharat.
Let me specifically mention here that, for the BJP, Hindutva is based on the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. For us, Hindutva is synonymous with being forward-looking, scientific and development-oriented. In fact Hindutva and development are inseparable.
Our country is going through a difficult phase, for which the UPA’s misrule is principally responsible. The situation in the country today is such that the people want to see the exit of the Congress. They want change and they are keenly searching for the right alternative. They have high hopes and expectations from the BJP. If we rise to their expectations, they will surely give us a mandate to form the next government and an opportunity to serve the nation.
We can’t afford to ignore that politics for us has always been an instrument for nation-building and all-round social progress. Let us establish this and rise above all secondary considerations and unitedly work to strengthen the BJP at a time when Destiny itself has presented before us both a challenge and an opportunity. We must succeed. Let’s consolidate and expand to fulfill the expectations of the people!
In order to spread this message, I appeal all the members of this National Executive to rededicate themselves to the task of strengthening party organisation. I have decided to undertake a two-day tour of every State for interactions with Organizational Core Team, Office Bearers, Elected Representatives and karyakartas!
As I said at the very outset, this meeting of the National Executive is to begin our preparations for the next parliamentary elections; I propose a simple, but sure, formula of success: LET US STRENGTHEN UNITY, DISCIPLINE and DEDICATION AT ALL LEVELS. I recall the prophetic words of our dear Atalji with a small addition:
Andhera Chhatega, Karyakarta Jutega, Suraj Nikalega, Kamal Khilega…