After 2004 elections, there were reports in the media that there is an ideological illusion in the BJP. But that is unsubstantiated. The BJP still stands by its ideological commitments, for which it was started.
I can assert that the BJP is the party rooted in its ideological moorings.
In this interview with the Organiser correspondent Deepak Kumar Rath, the BJP All India President Rajnath Singh discusses his party'sstand on various national issues.
Why is the BJP opposing the nuclear deal?
The BJP is a national party, and therefore safeguarding the national interest is our prime concern, which has inspired us to oppose the nuclear deal. We are not against strategic friendship with the US. Unlike the CPM, which is opposing good diplomatic ties with the US, we are for good relations and cooperation with each and every country. But we cannot accept a situation where India'snuclear weaponisation is curbed.
This Indo-US treaty will subject India to a client state, our indigenous nuclear programme will suffer. That is why we oppose it. In a nutshell, America will hold the key, which will affect the inflow of energy. Instead of becoming sufficient in energy, we are becoming energy dependent. No wise nation will give the key to its energy supply to somebody else. Our scientists, who could have benefited, are left out in the cold. If the reactors were made in India, then our industry, science research and scientific manpower could have progressed. I am of the personal view that no American executive can overrule the Hyde Act; nor can any president bypass it. It is obligatory for them. Even if President George W. Bush strives to help the deal, there is no guarantee what the next president will do. We share a symbiotic relationship with the US. We need the US and the US needs us. Why should we behave in a subjugated manner? As per the Hyde Act, the US can withhold supply of uranium to India in case India conducts nuclear test.
The Section 103(7) of the Hyde Act obliges the US government to work with NSG to restrict transfer of equipment and technology related to the enrichment of uranium, reprocessing of spent fuel and production of heavy water to India. Therefore, we should take all the precautions to safeguard India'snuclear sovereignty and it should not be compromised because of any international agreement. We should not be barred from reprocessing of spent fuel. As the US has laws to safeguard its national interest, so should India have a law to defend her national interests such as to conduct atomic tests, to reprocess the spent fuels, etc. The BJP also demands that there should be an amendment in the Constitution, so that any international treaty, that affects our unity, integrity, sovereignty and security, should be ratified by Parliament. The political mechanism that has been evolved has no meaning as such, as it is confined to the Left and the Congress. On the contrary, there should be a Joint Parliamentary Committee to review the deal.
BJP has already moved a privilege motion against the government in the House on the issue. Do you foresee any political instability in the present scenario?
Yes, a situation of political instability has seemingly engulfed the UPA government. Nobody knows what will be the Left'srole. And the political ambience clearly shows that there is no cohesion within the UPA.
Then what is the stand of the BJP in these circumstances?
The BJP has always exposed the failures of the UPA government and has fought for the national issues inside and outside the House. If the UPA government is not able to complete its full term due to inner contradictions, then the BJP is ready to face the mid-term elections. And we have already started preparations to face the elections. Recently, we held meetings of the core group and office-bearers to deliberate upon this issue. Under the stewardship of this government, the country instead of climbing the ladder of development is marching downward. The common man has been the worst victim of the price rise. Farmers? suicides have become the ubiquitous phenomenon in the country. Government'scomplete indifference on internal security is no secret. Social cohesion has been destabilised. The Action Taken Report on the Sachar Committee in the Parliament by Shri Antulay is really condemnable. It will shatter the social fabric of the country. We are not opposed to any religion. We only want that the poor, backward and downtrodden, who may be from any religion, should avail the benefits provided by the government. But the modus operandi of the Sachar Committee has been very discriminatory, as it concentrated on Muslim-populated areas only. This impinges on the rights of Dalits of the country. Furthermore, the committee recommends 15 per cent loan in the banks for Muslims. If any Muslim has been denied the loan, the bank has to give proper clarifications.
And scholarship only for poor Muslims is not acceptable to us. Why is Equal Opportunity Committee only for the Muslim community? It should be for all the communities. These are all inequities done by the UPA to divide the society. In our office-bearers meeting, I exhorted them to accept this challenge, as no other political party would raise the issue. If we maintain silence at this juncture, then it will become difficult to rein in the anti-national forces. I have called on the Muslim brethren to oppose the Sachar Committee'srecommendations.
Special benefits and reservations should not be extended merely to any particular community. Our country has already been divided on the basis of religion. So, it is utterly absurd to once again extend special benefits to a particular community only, which is also anti-constitutional.
What are the party'sfuture plans to fight elections?
We have formed a committee under the chairmanship of Shri Venkaiah Naidu to review the recommendations of the Sachar Committee. We will launch nation-wide campaigns to awaken the people against the appeasement policy of the UPA government. We want justice to all and appeasement to none.
What are the other issues that the BJP would raise in future pertaining to elections?
We will highlight the failures of the UPA government in every field, be it weak leadership, indecisive governance, internal security, price rise and agrarian issue.
We have planned to form booth committees all over the country, so that no election booth remains outside the reach of BJP workers. The programme is called?BJP on every booth. We expect that in the coming two-three months we will attain this goal. In some states, we have already attained this goal.
There are reports in media regarding dissonance in the RSS-BJP relations. Comment
I emphasise that the RSS and the BJP have complete harmonious relations between them. Most of us are the volunteers of the RSS. There is no question of any discord within us. The reports to this effect are completely unfounded. Only those who do not comprehend the relation between the RSS and the BJP can talk like this. The RSS never interferes in the internal affairs of the BJP. It is clarified that the policy decisions of the BJP are always taken in the meetings of office bearers and national executives.
Of late, there were also reports in media that whole-timers of the RSS would no longer work with the BJP. Comment.
Why would they not work with us? I myself have asked the RSS for the whole-timers to work with us. In fact, we need these whole-timers of the RSS, who have a vast experience of working in society. The RSS whole-timers are working with the BJP on our request only, so there is no question of sending them back. When I took the responsibility of the BJP president, I asked for more whole-timers to work with the BJP. Therefore, the media reports regarding this are false and baseless.
There are also reports of indiscipline within the party in different states.
After 2004 elections, there were reports in the media that there is an ideological illusion in the BJP. But that is unsubstantiated. The BJP still stands by its ideological commitments, for which it was started. The media reports perhaps came, as the NDA regime was running on the basis of common minimum programme, and not on the ideology of the BJP. Hence, the confusion was there and I think it is now clarified. There were also reports that the political strength of the BJP was decreasing day-by-day. This was also a myth, which was exploded in the elections in Punjab, Delhi, Uttarakhand, etc. So today I can assert that the BJP is the party rooted in its ideological moorings.
However, of late some incidents occurred in the party, which our opponents referred to as creeping indiscipline in the party. But it is not so. Today we have an opportunity to establish party'sideological, political and organisational credibility more strong and also to project the party as a committed and united party before the common man.
BJP is a cadre-based party, so how come different opinions on different issues are coming in media?
Nothing of that sort is true. Some wrong interpretations were drawn by a section of media from whatever Advanijee said about the nuclear deal. However, later in the parliamentary party meeting it was clarified properly.
Some reports are also there about the party dissidents in Gujarat. What is the central party doing to control the damage?
Nothing serious about it, as the BJP is doing well in Gujarat. Although the elections in Gujarat and Himachal are a challenge before us, I have firm belief that the BJP will win elections in Gujarat in November and afterwards in Himachal in February next year. Shri Narendra Modi is performing well and has successfully transformed Gujarat into a model state. Although some small problems are there, I believe these will be resolved before elections, as Shri Arun Jaitely and Shri Om Prakash Mathur are regularly in touch with the party workers and all our cadres will work for the party. Recently I had meetings with ministers and MPs of BJP-ruled states, so I can affirm that everything is going fine there.
What is the BJP doing to save Ram Sethu?
The BJP wholeheartedly supports the Ram Sethu movement, as Ram Sethu is the symbol of our astha. We appreciate the decision of the Supreme Court and hope the apex court would extend the same support in future also for this noble cause.