The BJP odyssey
By Sunita Govind
The stage is set for the grand conclusion of BJP'syear-long silver jubilee celebrations at Mumbai'sBandra Reclamation Ground, where the party began its eventful journey in 1980 and went on to change the country'spolitical history in a short span of a little over two decades.
The party, which grabbed national attention with its historic Palampur Resolution in 1989 and subsequent Somnath-Ayodhya rath yatra by L.K. Advani supporting reconstruction of Ram temple at Ayodhya, was catapulted to the center stage of Indian politics from a meagre strength of two after parting ways with the Janata Party over the dual membership issue.
Over the years, the BJP emerged as a political force to reckon with not only in the Hindi belt but also in south of Vindhyas and even in states with sizeable Christian presence like Goa and Nagaland.
Indian politics might not have become bi-party like the United States or the United Kingdom but the BJP has certainly made it bi-polar and emerged as an effective alternative to the 120-year-old Congress Party.
The influence of mainstream politics and seasonal birds have found manifestations in the party but it still continues to reflect the nationalist aspirations of a billion-odd people of India.
And it was these very milestones that the party celebrated in the year gone by. Beginning with a special session of the National Council at Delhi'sAmbedkar Stadium, party leaders including Shri Advani revisited among other places Lakhimpur from where Syama Prasad Mookerjee went to Kashmir never to return with the mission of ek vidhan, ek pradhan and ek nishan.
Functions were also held to commemorate the rath yatra at Somnath, the historic Ram temple resolution at Palampur, the anti-Emergency movement in Bangalore, the nuclear explosions at Pokhran, the Goa liberation movement at Panjim, Jan Sangh foundation Day in Delhi, Sampoorna Kranti Diwas rally at Patna besides seminars on the late Deendayal Upadhyaya'sphilosophy on Integral Humanism at Delhi and Mumbai.
Rallies for women, Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes were held respectively in Jaipur, Ranchi and Bhopal as part of the celebrations.
BJP silver jubilee celebrations in Mumbai.
The party also brought out a 16-volume history of the party from its Jana Sangh days to date encompassing among other things all the resolutions on various issues adopted by the party over the years.
While the culmination of the year-long celebrations was initially planned to be a grand convention on the lines of the 1980 meet where even the ordinary worker would participate, the devastating floods in Mumbai forced a re-think and the party decided to confine the guest list to 4000 including all MPs, MLAs, elected representatives and state executive members.
The three-day Silver Jubilee national conference would be preceded by a two-day national executive meeting on December 26 and 27.
While party General Secretary Arun Jaitley and Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj have been asked to prepare the Draft Political Resolution, the responsibility for preparing the Economic Resolution has been entrusted to Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Prof Vijay Kumar Malhotra, General Secretary Ananth Kumar and Economic Cell Convener P.N. Vijay.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh would be drafting the Resolution on Foreign Policy and Internal Security.
The national executive would also deliberate on the party'sstrategy for the upcoming Assembly elections in five states.
While noted jurist M.C. Chagla was the Chief Guest at the party'slaunch in 1980 with Atal Behari Vajpayee as President and L.K. Advani as General Secretary, no leader from any other organisation has been invited for the three-day celebrations beginning December 28.
The celebrations would begin with flag hoisting by Vajpayee followed by screening of a film on the party's25-year journey. The hasya kavi sammelan, which was a highlight of the 1980 launch, would be replaced by an over three hour-long drama ?Zanta Raja? (Knowledgeable King) with all pomp and pageantry including horses and elephants on a specially erected stage.
The second day would be spent deliberating on economic and political issues followed by a public meeting at the historic Shivaji Park with Shri Vajpayee and Shri Advani as the key speakers.
The BJP leaders would chalk out the party'sfuture programme on December 30 followed by Shri Advani'scomments and Shri Vajpayee'svaledictory address.
Interestingly, none of the present Chief Ministers of party-ruled states and some national-level leaders including Sushma Swaraj and Ananth Kumar were present at the first meeting in 1980.
A special newspaper would be brought out on all the three days and all the evets would be webcast live. As many as 50 internet-connected PCs would be provided to journalists at the venue to cover the programmes live as they unfold on the stage.
DVDs and VCDs chronicling the party'shistory and milestones, prepared with the assistance of noted Director Madhur Bhandarkar, would also be distributed to all the delegates.
Addressing the last BJP Parliamentary Party meeting of the winter session of Parliament, former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had expressed the hope that the party would emerge stronger at the Mumbai session to face the challenges confronting it.