BJP National Executive meeting in Mumbai
Pramod Kumar from Mumbai
Mumbai is again going to prove a turning point in the journey of BJP. The party gave a call to its cadre to consolidate and expand to fulfill people’s expectations as was done by Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee after the formation of BJP in 1980. In the first plenary session organised in Mumbai on December 27, 1980, Shri Vajpayee had prophetically said—Andhera Chhatega, Suraj Nikalega, Kamal Khilega. Making small addition in these words of Atalji, BJP president Shri Nitin Gadkari said: “Andhera Chhatega, Karyakarta Jutega, Suraj Nikalega, Kamal Khilega. What we need at this moment is to strengthen unity, discipline and dedication at all levels.”
Shri Vajpayee’s words proved to be correct in 1996. Now once again the party wishes to snatch power from the Congress in 2014 or before, if the polls are held early. The party feels that it is very much possible as the UPA is in ICU and there is strong resentment in the public against the Congress and UPA partners. That is why Shri Gadkari while inaugurating the National Executive meeting here on May 24 said: “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.” The meeting concluded on May 25 with a huge public rally.
Expansion of NDA
Exhorting the workers Shri Gadkari said the strategy to replace the Congress from power hinged critically on three imperatives—expansion of the BJP’s support base in states where it has been traditionally weak; increase in the party’s overall vote share by at least 10 per cent on a consistent basis, and expansion of the NDA. “These tasks entail necessary action on ideological, political and organisational fronts, at the national as well as at state levels,” he said stressing the need to expand base among dalits and minorities and economically deprived sections.
About the regional parties he said they also have a national perspective. “Many of them were valued partners of the BJP in NDA. 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.
BJP as the genuine alternative
Describing the BJP as a genuine alternative Shri Gadkari said the alternative has five determinants—strong, capable and credible leadership with team spirit that puts the nation above the party, and the party above self; Clear vision about the challenges and opportunities before the nation; Ability to take the right decisions and implement them with people’s support; Transparency and honesty in functioning; and strong commitment to nationalism, good governance, development and uplift of the poor and the marginalised. “Our Development Vision, of which ‘Antyodaya’ is the core, places the highest priority for the all-round progress of Gaon, Gareeb, and Mazdoor,” he said.
Hitting at the Congress-led UPA government which completed three years Shri Gadkari said it is a lame-duck government. When farmers are committing suicide, rupee is falling, essential commodities are getting costlier, 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,” he said.
Agenda for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh
Congratulating the party workers for party’s victory in Goa and Punjab and also in the local body polls in Maharashtra and Delhi, Shri Gadkari stressed the need to deeply analyse the results in Uttarakhand where the party lost power just with one seat, and in Uttar Pradesh where the performance was below expectations. Setting the agenda to successfully face the forthcoming assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, he said, “Like all our BJP and NDA ruled states, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh governments have earned many 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, he said.
Package for drought affected states
The party discussed in detail the drought that has hit Maharashtara, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Former party president M Venkaiah Naidu demanded an interim assistance of Rs. 1500 crores to each of the drought affected states and Rs 500 crore relief to the Bundelkhand region in UP and MP. “Also the Centre must release 5 lakh MTs of foodgrains free of cost to each of these states.
Direct subsidy for farmers
Expressing deep concern over the pitiable condition of farmers, the party demanded that the interest rates on agricultural loans be reduced to one per cent, the government should open compulsory bank accounts for all farmers to transfer all MSP payments, subsidies, indemnities and other payments in cash directly to the farmers. “Utility items like tractor, agricultural equipment and machineries, drip and sprinkler irrigation installations, fertilizers, seeds and agro-chemicals should be kept out from the ambit of different type of taxes. Also, the subsidy on them should be enhanced and given directly to the farmers. Apart from it the imports of agro commodities should not be encouraged and the MNREGA should be linked with agriculture,” said a resolution on Agriculture, which was moved by former party president Shri Rajnath Singh.
Expressing concern over the ever-deteriorating Indian economy, the party alleged that the UPA turned the prosperous Indian economy into the economy in crisis. “This government's gift to India is stagflation, corruption, and misgovernance. The country is paying a heavy price for the poor performance of the UPA government and it will take years to turn the situation around,” said a resolution moved by former Union Minister Dr Murli Manohar Joshi.
Reposing full faith in the strong will of the people, the party called upon them to protest against the disastrous economic performance of the UPA government. “Given an opportunity, the BJP assures the people that it will once again bring the Indian economy back to a fast-growth track with expansion of job opportunities and unleashing people's power, by empowering them through quality education, skill development and healthcare services, by making requisite public investments in infrastructure, by utilising the opportunity that lies within India’s huge domestic demand, by directing government expenditure to productive purposes by encouraging investment both domestic and foreign in infrastructure and by undertaking effective steps at fiscal prudence,” the resolution said.
BJP amends party constitution to extend president’s term
BJP passed an amendment to its constitution which will now enable the party to extend party president’s term by another three years. The amendment was moved by former party president Shri Rajnath Singh and was seconded by another former president Shri M Venkaiah Naidu.
According to party general secretary Shri JP Nadda, the amendment would also enable extending the tenure of district presidents and other office bearers. “Earlier, a president could have only one term of three year at a time. Now, a president can have two consecutive terms of three years at a time,” he said. The amendment was passed “unanimously” by voice vote.
At the same time, the party initiated a membership drive and holding organisational elections for different posts in the party. BJP’s senior Bihar leader Shri Radha Mohan Singh was appointed incharge of the membership drive, while Rajya Sabha Member Shri Thawar Chand Gehlot is the incharge of organisational elections.
New party headquarters in Delhi
The BJP will soon have a new headquarters in Delhi. The party has been granted a two-acre plot at Deendayal Upadhyaya Marg, where a magnificent office complex will be constructed. 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 organisational journey so far. This exhibition will showcase BJP’s efforts through various agitations for defending India’s unity and integrity. It will remind workers about how the party 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,” Shri Gadkari said appealing to the workers to join in the historic drive and contribute to the ambitious project.
Interlocutors’ report on J&K
Total denial of certain harsh realities: BJP
Reacting strongly on the report of Interlocutors' on Jammu & Kashmir, the Bharatiya Janata Party rejected the report in entirety saying that it is against Kashmir’s integration into India. In a resolution, which was originally not part of the agenda in the National Executive, the party said the report is in total denial of certain harsh realities. The party alleged that the Report was deliberately released 36 hours after the Parliament was adjourned, sine die. “This has been done in order to avoid parliamentary accountability of the report,” said BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman.
Describing the report as a verbose document written in denial about certain basic realities, the party said some vital facts have been ignored. “Pakistan has not reconciled to Jammu & Kashmir being integral part of India and it is not likely to cooperate in terms of resolution of the political issues. Similarly, since the key problem confronting the state is terrorism, both cross-border and local, which is engineered either from Pakistan or local separatist groups, the report offers no solution to this problem other than suggesting dilution of anti-terrorism steps,” the resolution said.
The Report also offers no response to the rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Hindus who have been tortured, threatened, killed and compelled to leave the valley. “The Report weakens the Indian position stated in the 1994 resolution of Indian Parliament that PoK is an integral part of India. This report proceeds on the basis that PoK is and will be Pakistan Administered and refers to PoK as PAJK (Pakistan Administered Jammu & Kashmir). The report fails to consider that within the state there is huge discrimination against Ladakh and Jammu regions in terms of development, education, public employment, expenditure and number of elected representatives,” the resolution said.
The party said the Report failed to recognise that Article 370, that has been a psychological barrier between the state and the rest of the country, has weakened the constitutional link between the state and the rest of India. Rather than recommending the abolition of such a provision, the Report recommends that it should be made permanent by suggesting the replacement of word ‘temporary’ with the word ‘special’. “It holds a hope for the future for recreating the offices of ‘Wazir-e-Azam’ and ‘Sadar-e-Riyasat’. It recommends the nomination of the Governor to be initiated by the state Assembly. It recommends the review of all post – 1952 laws and their application to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. This is a disastrous step since several laws made applicable to the state after the martyrdom of Dr Syama Prasad Mookarjee in 1953 and the Indira-Sheikh Accord in 1975 will be reconsidered,” the BJP spokesperson said.
Bharat Bandh on May 31 against petrol price hike
Protesting against the arbitrary hike in petrol prices, the BJP led NDA announced a nationwide shut-down (Bharat Bandh) on May 31. Announcing the shut down in Mumbai on May 24, the acting chairman of NDA Shri LK Advani said, “In the history of the country, there has never been such steep rise on a single day in price of petrol.” Shri Adavni appealed to the people to make the shut down successful. “The gross mismanagement of economy by the UPA is significantly responsible for this. The common man is going to be the biggest sufferer,” Shri Advani said.