April 6 – May 10, 2006
(The following Press Release was issued at the start of the Yatra)
The Bharatiya Janata Party has launched a nationwide mass political campaign in the form of the Bharat Suraksha Yatra from April 6 to May 10, 2006. It consists of two yatras – one led by Shri L.K. Advani, Leader of the Opposition (Lok Sabha), from Dwaraka in Gujarat to Delhi; and the other led by Shri Rajnath Singh, President of the BJP, from Jagannath Puri in Orissa to Delhi.
Shri Advaniji’s Yatra will cover a distance of 6,000 kms and travel through the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi. Shri Rajnath Singhji’s Yatra will cover a distance of 5,500 kms and travel through the states of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi. Together, they will cover 17 states and a distance of 11,500 kms.
How the BJP has modernized the concept of ‘Yatra’ in the Indian Tradition:
Yatra is an age-old medium of national integration in India. Throughout our millennial history, people have traveled from one part of India to another, mainly to places of pilgrimage, in search of knowledge and spiritual salvation. Social and religious leaders have also used the medium of the yatra to create a new awakening among the people, and thus strengthen the bonds of social harmony and patriotic unity.
In modern times, the Bharatiya Janata Party is proud to have reinvented the quintessentially Indian tradition of Yatra and employed it – as against the imported, videshi concept of “roadshows” – as a means of mass political campaign. Shri Advaniji’s “Ram Rath Yatra” of 1990, to mobilize public opinion in favour of construction of a Ram Temple at Ayodhya, became a major landmark in Indian history. His “Swarna Jayanti Rath Yatra” in 1997, to commemorate the golden jubilee of India’s independence, paid tribute to all the martyrs and heroes of our Freedom Struggle. His “Bharat Uday Yatra” in 2004 widely propagated India’s remarkable achievements under the six-year reign of Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Similarly, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi’s “Ekta Yatra” in 1991-92 gave expression to the national resolve that Kashmir will always remain an inalienable part of India. In addition, the BJP has also launched the “Janadesh Yatra” (1993), “Su-raj Yatra” (1996) and several other yatras at the state level to carry its socio-political message to the people of India.
The dates for the start and finish of the Yatra are highly significant. April 6 is Ram Navami, the day Lord Ram was born. It is also the Founding Day of the BJP, which was born on this very day in 1980. May 10 too is a sacred day. It marked the beginning of India’s First War of Independence in 1857. In his inspiring book on this glorious chapter in India’s history, Veer Savarkar writes that those were the days when “Hindus and Mahomedans proclaimed that India was their country and that they were all brethren, the days when Hindus and Mahomedans unanimously raised the flag of national freedom at Delhi. Be those grand days ever memorable in the history of Hindustan!” Incidentally, the 150th anniversary of this historic event begins on May 10 this year. Hence, Shri Advaniji’s Yatra will pay homage to the martyrs of 1857 in Meerut, before reaching Delhi.
Why another Yatra? Why now?
Dear Countrymen, this mass education campaign has been launched at a critical juncture in independent India’s history. Since the installation of the UPA Government with Communist support in May 2004, our country has witnessed an erosion of core national values. On the one hand, the Government has mounted a cynical assault on cherished democratic ideals, eroded the sanctity of institutions, given criminals and scamsters a place in the central government, and betrayed all the promises it made to alleviate the plight of the “aam aadmi”, garib and kisans. On the other hand, it has unleashed a wave of divisive politics that has set Indian against Indian and undermined the unity and security of the nation. Our country would have to pay a heavy price unless a correction is applied to the wrong turn it took in May 2004 by placing the Congress-led rag-tag UPA coalition in power.
This leaflet gives you an overview of the context, purpose and objectives of the Bharat Suraksha Yatra. It seeks to present a comprehensive perspective on the concept of ‘Bharat Suraksha’ – weaving together diverse strands of national unity, national security, defense of democracy, probity in governance, and protection of people’s economic security. We urge you to read this booklet, encourage others to read it, and discuss its contents as responsible and concerned citizens of India.
Dangers of politics of ‘minorityism’:
Today, India is witnessing the revival of the Congress party's vote bank politics that was so decisively rejected by the electorate in the 1990s. Along with the Communists and some other parties, the Congress is engaged in politics of competitive minorityism. What is worse, it is defending it in the name of secularism. India has always been secular and shall forever remain so because of her core Hindu ethos, which holds that everybody is free to follow their own mode of worship. ‘Sarva Pantha Samabhav’ and rejection of theocracy have been the hallmark of our society and statecraft. The BJP believes that all sections of India’s diverse society, irrespective of their caste or creed, deserve equal treatment and equal care. “Justice for All, Appeasement of None” – this has been our Party’s motto since its inception.
What the BJP is firmly against, however, is giving a permanent status to notions of “minority” and “majority” in our political life. It is precisely this divisive mindset that led the Muslim League to demand, and violently secure, the partition of India in 1947. For the sake of consolidating its lost Muslim vote bank, the Congress party is now following on the footsteps of the pre-1947 Muslim League. By brazenly adopting a policy of minorityism, the Congress isn't merely creating a divide between Muslims and non-Muslims; it is also wantonly undermining Indian nationalism.
Congress-assisted demographic invasion from Bangladesh:
For 25 years, just for the sake of votes, the Congress party has systematically shielded infiltrators from Bangladesh, and smuggled them onto voters’ lists in Assam, West Bengal (where the Communists have assisted the Congress in this anti-national crime), and other states of north-eastern and eastern India. By now, over two crore Bangladeshis have settled in India. In a historic judgment in July 2005, the Supreme Court struck down the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act in 1985 as unconstitutional. It has held that the provisions of the Act, which the Congress and the Communists have stoutly defended, have been deliberately designed to help the infiltrators. “The State of Assam is facing ‘external aggression and internal disturbance’ on account of large scale illegal migration of Bangladeshi nationals,” the Supreme Court has warned. Its judgement is a clear and total vindication of the BJP’s consistent stand for the repeal of IMDT.
Shockingly, after the Supreme Court judgement, the UPA government is moving heaven and earth to provide another legal protection for Bangladeshi infiltrators by incorporating all the nefarious provisions of the IMDT Act into the Foreigners Act and extend the latter to the whole country. There can scarcely be a bigger betrayal of the Indian Nation. Just to create a captive vote bank, the Congress party and the UPA government are jeopardizing our national unity and national security. Many people in Assam fear that “within ten years a Bangladeshi Chief Minister will be in charge of Assam, if infiltration continues at this rate; Al-Qaeda and ISI working here will be protected; and the situation Assam will be worse than in Jammu and Kashmir". The north-eastern region shares only 2% of its boundary with India, while the remaining 98% is bordered by the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and China. Therefore, if the Congress-assisted demographic invasion from Bangladesh into this strategic region of our country is not checked and reversed, there is an imminent prospect of the “birth of a third Islamic country” out of the once united India of pre-1947 days.
Muslim head-count in the Armed Forces:
The UPA government sought to communalise the Armed Forces by encouraging Muslim head-count in the Army, Navy and Air Force. This naturally met with strong disapproval from both serving and retired personnel from the Armed Forces. India’s Armed Forces are both an embodiment and a custodian of India’s national unity. People of all religions serve in them and there has never been any discrimination, including on religious grounds, either in recruitment or promotion. They provide for places of worship for all faiths. They display neither bias nor prejudice towards any community. It is shocking, therefore, that the UPA government tried to introduce divisive tendencies in our Armed Forces by giving its sanction to a Muslim census. This nefarious design was nipped in the bud only because of timely and spirited protest from the BJP and other nationalist forces.
The UPA Government has broken the national consensus on reservations. It has opened the floodgates of religion-based reservations. The Supreme Court on January 5, 2006 quashed the decision of the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh to give 5% quota in jobs and education to Muslims. The Allahabad High Court quashed Aligarh Muslim University’s decision to provide 50% reservation for Muslims in postgraduate Medical/engineering courses. Yet the UPA government is trying to find some way to push communal quotas. What began as a demand for more jobs and more educational opportunities is fast turning into a demand for communal quotas in all walks of life, including the Armed Forces, Parliament and State Legislatures. The BJP opposes this dangerous trend, which is being encouraged by the Congress party. It is useful to remember the warning sounded by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, on the concept of communal reservations: “This way lies not only folly but disaster.”
The Government has shown incredible laxity in dealing with jehadi terrorism. The attack on the Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Diwali bomb blasts in Delhi, the recent serial blasts in Varanasi, and earlier attacks on the Raghunath Temple in Jammu and the Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar – these are clear indicators that the jehadis want to create a communal divide and tension in India. These acts also show that the infrastructure of terrorism, aimed against India, is still intact in Pakistan. Bangladesh has emerged as a second launch-pad for cross-border terrorism. The UPA government is turning a blind eye to the growing network of cells of jehadi terrorists and their supporters within India. The Congress and its allies have completely failed to educate the people on this grave danger to our national security and integration. Rather than further intensify the legal, administrative and political offensive against jehadi terrorism, and the anti-national ideology that supports it, the UPA government’s first act upon assuming office was to scrap POTA.
Kerala Assembly resolution to release terrorist mastermind Madani:
Recently, MLAs belonging to the Congress, Muslim League and Communist parties passed a resolution in the Kerala Assembly seeking the release of Abdul Nasser Madani, the brain behind the serial bomb blasts in Coimbatore in 1998, which killed 58 people. Shri Advaniji was the principal target in this murderous plot. Madani is in a jail in Tamil Nadu, facing trial. The two rival political fronts in Kerala have joined ranks to seek his release on “humanitarian grounds” solely with an eye on Muslim votes in the coming Assembly elections.
Other examples of the UPA’s politics of minorityism are – creation of a separate ministry for minority affairs; revision of history texts to make communalism and separatism seem respectable; and communalization (by some UPA partners) of the protest against India’s foreign policy in respect of Iran’s nuclear policy and President Bush’s visit to India. In short, the UPA has triggered a process that will lead to the polarisation of India along religious lines. If unchecked, this polarization could have grave consequences for India’s unity, integrity and security.
BJP’s appeal to Indian Muslims:
The BJP appeals to Indian Muslims to guard against the self-serving propaganda of our political adversaries that our Party is anti-Muslim (or against other religious minorities). We respect all faiths and hold that religious freedoms of the followers of all faiths are inviolable. At the same time, we firmly believe that the politics of minorityism is unhelpful to Muslims themselves, besides being detrimental to the Indian Nation. Successive Congress governments have done little to promote the socio-economic development of poor Muslims. The Congress party is using Indian Muslims merely as pawns in its cynical power game, thus driving a wedge between Muslims and Hindus. Our adversaries think that the surest way of capturing political power is to divide the Hindu society on caste lines and to consolidate Muslims as a “vote bank”. This is a dangerous and short-sighted strategy, which will undermine both democracy and national unity.
The UPA Government has no clear and long-range policy on combating Naxal insurgency, which has become one of the major threats to India’s internal security. It has encouraged the Maoist insurgency in Nepal to go out of hand and this in turn has emboldened the naxalites into threatening the stability of Indian states along their proposed "red corridor" from Kathmandu to Kochi. In many naxal-affected states, the Congress has endangered the lives and property of ordinary citizens by cutting political deals with Maoists. The UPA government treats the naxal menace as essentially a state issue, to be tackled more or less independently by the affected states. It has almost abandoned the Vajpayee government’s well-conceived strategy to combat this menace with a centralized command structure and with the cooperation of all the affected state governments. Today, the Maoist insurgents pose as much threat as the jehadis. In many cases, the two work in tandem with secessionist movements in North-east India.
Although naxalites claim to represent the poor, they are in fact the worst enemies of the poor and the exploited. For by creating conditions of violence and terror in some of the most backward regions of the country, they are blocking the development of these areas, thereby pushing the poor into a worse state of poverty and unemployment. While advocating an uncompromising strategy to deal with the naxal menace, the BJP strongly champions speedy socio-economic advancement of the Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes, Other Backward Classes and the poor belonging to other communities in extremism-affected areas.
Corruption and criminalisation:
Never in the history of independent India has a government at the Centre been born with two shameful birthmarks: corruption and criminalization. Over half a dozen individuals with well-established record of heinous criminality – ranging from murder to corruption scams – were rewarded with ministerial berths. The UPA government allowed the Italian fugitive Ottavio Quattrocchi, who has repeatedly proclaimed his “proud friendship” with the family of Shrimati Sonia Gandhi, to walk away with Rs. 21 crore of Bofors bribes from a frozen bank account in London. This has incontrovertibly proved our charge: “Congress ka haath, Quattrocchi ke saath.” The Congress party itself was named by the Volcker Report as a beneficiary in Iraq’s murky oil-for-food scandal, in which a central minister had to be forced to quit office. Most recently, many bigwigs of the Congress and the UPA government have been shown to be involved in a scandal in the Rs. 18,000-crore Scorpene submarine deal. Kickbacks amounting to over Rs. 500 crore have allegedly been paid to Congress leaders by middlemen, who are also involved in a serious “War Room Leak” in the Navy. No wonder, the Scorpene scam has come to be known as the “Navy’s Bofors”.
The BJP recognizes that the common people are troubled more by local and lower-level corruption in their interface with the administration. Our Party has always been a spirited campaigner for a corruption-free India – both at higher and lower levels of government. Nevertheless, we believe that the people at the top have a greater responsibility to set the right example in this regard. It is because of the wrong example set by the Congress party that a culture of corruption has now become rampant in our country. The BJP believes that corruption is a potent threat not only to India’s development, but also to India’s democracy and national security.
Congress president’s phony “Sacrifice – Part II”:
Within a short time of two years, the UPA government has established a long record of subversion of democratic institutions for partisan ends. It brazenly misused the office of the governor to undermine the democratic mandate in Goa, Jharkhand and Bihar. The Supreme Court struck down dissolution of the Bihar Assembly as “unconstitutional”. It also censured the Union Cabinet, headed by a nominated Prime Minister who is in office but not in command, for “not applying its mind” in the matter. The governor had to tender his resignation. An even more blatant instance of subversion of the norms of parliamentary democracy was seen recently when the UPA government closed Parliament’s budget session in order to bring a “Save Sonia” ordinance. Caught red-handed in its own petty conspiracy, the Congress party is now projecting its president’s resignation- under-compulsion from the Lok Sabha and chairpersonship of the National Advisory Council (which was an extra-constitutional power centre) as yet another act of “sacrifice” and “martyrdom”. The BJP considers this to be an insult to the intelligence of the Indian people.
Government of “Khaas Aadmi”, not “Aam Aadmi”:
The BJP believes that national security is incomplete without economic security to crores of poor and middle-class families in India. The Congress party’s betrayal of its promise to the “aam aadmi” is evident from the rapidly growing divide between the rich and poor. The common man is groaning under an unprecedented rise in the prices of all essential commodities. Similarly, the promise of employment to the unemployed youth has been betrayed. The number of jobless people, including educated job-seekers, has grown in the past two years. The much-trumpeted Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme remains merely on paper. The government has also failed to provide any social security to workers in the unorganised sector both in rural and urban areas. The rural poor are forced, in greater number than before, to migrate to urban slums, where the living conditions have further worsened.
Plight of kisans:
India is today witnessing the gravest agrarian crisis in its post-1947 history. The worst sufferers of the UPA government’s betrayal and non-performance are India’s kisans, who are driven to commit suicide in large numbers. Cases of farmers’ suicides are also surfacing in relatively prosperous states like Punjab, Kerala and Maharashtra. The prices of all inputs have shot up, whereas the prices of farmers’ output continue to be at the mercy of a manipulative market. The crop insurance scheme is in a shambles. With the cooperative credit structure in most states turning sick, and the government turning a blind eye to the demand for remunerative prices for farm produce, kisans are being forced to carry a heavy burden of private debt. The crisis in agriculture is also pushing khet mazdoors into indebtedness and further pauperization. The Centre has failed to take effective steps to overcome the power crisis, whose first victims are always the kisans. By abandoning the Vajpayee government’s dream project of inter-linking of rivers, the UPA government has shown its indifference to the Indian farmer’s key concern for long-term water security.
Vajpayee government’s development agenda discarded:
The progressive measures of the NDA Government led by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee created the basis for a surge in national pride and national self-confidence. They created the basis for rapid economic growth, modernisation and the enhancement of India's competitive worth in the world. The returns from these measures are beginning to be felt in many sectors today. Unfortunately, the UPA government has either stopped or considerably slowed down implementation of many ambitious development projects initiated by the Vajpayee government. It has even stopped projecting the dream of making India a Developed Nation by 2020, which the Vajpayee government had propagated so vigorously.
Dear Countrymen, it should be obvious to you from this leaflet that the Bharatiya Janata Party has a broad and holistic vision of ‘Bharat Suraksha’.
All these constitute the multiple themes that converge into the BJP’s common agenda of ‘Bharat Suraksha’.
We believe that this vision of ‘Bharat Suraksha’ can be realized only through a firm commitment to Good Governance (Sushasan), principled politics and the core values of Indian Nationalism.
The Yatra aims at carrying this inspiring vision of ‘Bharat Suraksha’ to people across the country. It seeks to make them conscious of the growing threats to ‘Bharat Suraksha’ from the Congress party’s divisive politics and the UPA government’s non-performance. The BJP believes that only united action by the people, transcending their caste, religious, linguistic and regional identities, will safeguard national interests and thwart the designs of those who seek to weaken and fragment India. The Bharat Suraksha Yatra is an earnest step in that direction.
We seek your support and participation in this patriotic undertaking.