To the above list, I would like to add the UPA government'sfailure to contain the unprecedented rise in the prices of all essential commodities and services, and also its failure ? rather, unwillingness ? to fight terrorism.
Assam must be saved and India must be freed of this burden called the UPA government. This is possible only if there is a nationalist government, with requisite political will, first in New Delhi and later in Guwahati, when the next State Assembly elections are held. Therefore, this is my appeal to the people of Assam: ?Send maximum number of MPs of the BJP and AGP from Assam. Help us form an NDA government at the Centre.?
During my visit to Shillong today, I had a very fruitful meeting with religious leaders of different faiths including Hindus, Muslims and Christians. I availed of the opportunity to comment on incidents which had occurred recently in parts of Orissa and Karnataka namely, the killing of innocent Christians and attacks on some churches. I strongly condemn these acts of violence and vandalism which cannot be condoned or justified. The law must take its own course and the culprits must be brought to justice.
I also stressed at this meeting the need for frank and constructive inter-religious dialogue on all such issues that may be agitating the minds of this or that community. Let the people belonging to all religious communities consciously strengthen the bonds of Indianness that tie us together in the larger national community.
Earlier, at a ?Vijay Sankalp Rally? in Guwahati on September 28, 2008, he said, it gives me immense pleasure to be in Assam as part of the ?Vijay Sankalp? rallies organised by my party all across the country.
Assam is India'sgateway to the North-East. Generally, the coordinates of a nation are indicated by the four directions?North, South, East and West. But in the case of India, the definition and description is not complete without reference to a fifth direction?the North-East.
The North-East is as important to India as North, South, East and West. Each of the states in the North-East is as much an integral part of India as the states in other parts of the country. Every ethnic, linguistic and religious community in the North-East is equally beloved to us.
In India'shistory, when has the importance of a place or a community ever been determined by its size? Or by how close it is to the national capital?
Assam and the rest of the North-East may be distant from Dilli. But, as far as the BJP is concerned, they are not, and they never will be, distant from our Dil.
Confluence of Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh in Assam
Besides, Assam has a very special place in the spiritual personality of India. This is where we see a sacred confluence of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
You have Brahmaputra ? Son of the Creator of the Universe. It originates from Manasarovar Lake, in Mount Kailas, the abode of Lord Shiva. Indeed, as it enters the hills of Assam, the mighty Brahmaputra flows to Guwahati. Here lies a very ancient place of pilgrimage, the Temple of Goddess Kamakhya on a hill.
Kamakhya is one of the centres of Shakti worship in India. She is also a powerful symbol of national integration. Shakti, who is inseparable from Shiva or Mahesh, is worshipped as Kamakhya in Assam, Kamakshi in Kanchi, Uma in the Himalayas, Kali in Bengal, Mahakali in Ujjain, Amba in Kashmir and Chamundeshwari in Mysore.
And then in the middle of the Brahmaputra and the Subansiri rivers in Assam, you have the sacred Island of Majuli, which has nurtured Vaishnavite culture since centuries. This is the largest river island in the world. Lord Krishna is believed to have played ras leela on this island. This is where Shankardeva, one of the greatest social reformers in India'shistory, propagated a new form of Vaishnavism, which forms the bedrock of the social and cultural ethos of Assam.
Therefore, before I share my thoughts with you at this rally, I bow reverentially to all the three holy symbols of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh in Assam?River Brahmaputra, Majuli Island and Kamakhya Temple.
Save Majuli: Our firm commitment and priority
I am aware that Majuli Island is facing a serious threat due to erosion caused by frequent floods in the Brahmaputra. I am told that its size is shrinking. And so also the number of monasteries located on this island. The bio-diversity on this island is also priceless. Majuli is close to the heart of every Assamese. We cannot allow Majuli to face extinction.
It is unfortunate that there has been no serious effort so far to implement a plan to save Majuli. This effort has to be a part of the larger effort to save Assam from the devastation caused by frequent floods. There is a crying need for long-term and enduring solutions to the problem of flood-control in India. Not only Assam, but Bihar and Orissa have also suffered huge losses due to floods this year.
I promise the people of Assam that, if the NDA is elected to form the next government at the Centre, I shall give top priority both to the Save Majuli Programme and also to the long-term flood-control measures in Assam.
Save Assam from the ?external aggression? of infiltration from Bangladesh
Not only Majuli but Assam as a whole is today fighting for survival. And the threat to its survival has come from a ?flood? of another kind?the flood of illegal migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.
If this flood is not controlled, Assam will face extinction under the inundation caused by foreigners.
Should we allow this to happen? No. Should we accept defeatism? No.
I know that during the 1962 war of aggression by China, when Chinese troops looked all set to enter Assam, the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had made an infamous speech on All India Radio. That speech still brings painful memories to the people of Assam, because Nehruji'sspeech contained a message of defeatism.
It is my solemn promise that, now that Assam is facing an attack of another kind ? indeed, the Supreme Court itself, in its 2005 judgement striking down IMDT Act as unconstitutional, has described large-scale infiltration from Bangladesh as ?external aggression??the BJP and the NDA, if elected to form the next government in New Delhi, will not be silent spectators. We shall do everything possible, and everything necessary, to stop the flood of illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
What pains me?indeed, angers me?is that the Congress-led UPA government is not only a silent spectator but an active colluder. The Supreme Court not only struck down the IMDT Act as unconstitutional, but also directed the central government to take effective legal measures to stop infiltration from Bangladesh. What did the UPA government do? It amended the Foreigners Act for Assam to introduce into it exactly the same flawed provisions of the IMDT Act, so that infiltration could continue unchecked. The Supreme Court struck down the amended law, severely castigated the central government and repeated its earlier directions to it. Since then, the government has done nothing to respect the order of the Supreme Court.
The people of Assam and the rest of India should be grateful to the Supreme Court for its bold and uncompromising verdict.
Indeed, our gratitude should also be directed at the Guwahati High Court. Its recent observations in a case relating to a Pakistani national who came to Bangladesh, then infiltrated into Assam, got his name registered on the voters? list and even managed to contest the 1996 Assembly elections are indeed an eye-opener. The court observed that illegal Bangladeshis are slowly becoming the ?kingmakers? in Assam and will reduce indigenous Assamese to a minority.
?This can happen only in Assam?, the High Court said, in despair.
To this, I say: ?No, this will not be allowed to happen in Assam. Not anymore.?
The High Court observed that a strong political will to free Assam from illegal Bangladeshis was the need of the hour.
To this, I say: ?Yes, a strong political will is indeed needed. The Congress never mustered the political will to save Assam. But the BJP will.?
Let alone admitting to the fact that more and more Bangladeshi nationals are getting themselves registered as Indian citizens, the Congress governments at the Centre and in the state are reluctant even to admit the presence of infiltrators. The Congress party is not willing to wake up from its slumber even now ? all because of its surrender to the policy of vote-banks.
Importance of BJP-AGP alliance
I am happy to note that the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) are equally concerned by the observations of the Guwahati High Court. The issue of influx from Bangladesh has once again come to the centrestage of Assamese politics after a long gap. There is an urgent need for the BJP, AGP, AASU and other nationalist forces to join hands to achieve victory in our struggle ? a victory that eluded Assam when the Assam Accord was signed in 1986.
But Assam can be saved only if there is a nationalist government, with requisite political will, both in New Delhi and in Guwahati.
Since Lok Sabha elections will come first?indeed, they are not far away?the people of Assam must ensure the victory of a BJP-led NDA government in New Delhi. I am happy that the AGP will be our ally in the coming elections. My appeal to the people of Assam is just this: ?Send maximum number of MPs of the BJP and AGP from Assam. Help us form an NDA government at the Centre. And we make a solemn pledge to act as a sword and a shield to save Assam.?
Let me make one point clear here, so that the Congress party and our other adversaries do not deliberately misrepresent our stand on this all-important issue. When I say that a future NDA government will do everything legally and administratively necessary to stop infiltration from Bangladesh in order to save Assam, our action will be directed at illegal migrants from Bangladesh?and not at indigenous Muslims in Assam. This is my message to Assamese Muslims, ?You will have nothing to fear, since you are as much a part of Assam and India as others. But those coming illegally from Bangladesh will have a lot to fear. Our approach will be 100 per cent protection to Assamese Muslims but zero per cent protection to Bangladeshi infiltrators.?
Multi-purpose ID card project
In order to have a proper and effective system of three D?s? Detection, Deletion (of names from the voters? list) and Deportation of foreigners without harassment of genuine Indian citizens?the time has come to prepare an up-to-date National Register of Citizens (NRC) by issuing multi-purpose photo identity cards to every genuine Indian citizen, both in Assam and in the rest of the country.
The Vajpayee government had started a project on the ID card, which the UPA government has almost abandoned. Revival of this project will be one of the priorities of a future NDA government.
Free India from the curse of the UPA government
There is no dearth of reasons why the UPA government deserves to be thrown out in the next elections. Unprecedented price rise because of the mismanagement of the economy by the government. Food security for the poor has become precarious. Economic growth is slowing down. As a result, our young people will have even fewer jobs than now. Kisans are victims of an unprecedented crisis in agriculture.
The government has betrayed all its promises to the aam aadmi.
On top of these betrayals, is the government'sfailure?rather, unwillingness?to fight terrorism.
Corruption has reached alarming levels, as was seen in the ?Cash-for-Votes? scandal in Parliament during the trust vote in Parliament.
Such a government is indeed a threat to the nation and to the livelihood of the common man.
India must be freed of this curse called the UPA government.