Over 7 lakh workers attend the BJP's Karyakarta Mahakumbh in Bhopal
Debobrat Ghose in Bhopal
He came, he spoke and he won the hearts of lakhs in Bhopal. This sums up the response, enthusiasm and hope generated among lakhs of party workers from across the country and the public in general by the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Bhopal on September 25.
BJP’s Karyakarta Mahakumbh at Jamboorie Maidan in BHEL township reverberated with slogans of “Modi…Modi…” and with a standing ovation, the crowd welcomed the man the moment he stepped onto the chariot-designed podium. He was the last speaker of the highly charged up day, which saw other party stalwarts such as veteran leader Shri Lal Krishna Advani, Dr MM Joshi, party president Shri Rajnath Singh and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan among others on stage. The rally marked the beginning of the party’s election preparation for the state, due to go to polls soon.
Giving a clarion call, Shri Modi urged the gathering, comprising nearly seven lakh BJP workers representing 53714 polling booths and the general public from various districts of Madhya Pradesh, to build a “Congress-free India”.
“One of Mahatma Gandhi’s last dreams has remained unfulfilled and that’s to free the country from the clutches of the Congress. And we have to take an oath to make a Congress-free nation, which will be free from corruption and nepotism,” said Modi, which found an immediate connect with the audience in the form of a strong affirmation.
The sprawling Jamboorie Maidan wore a festive look with colourful festoons, flags, banners, posters, air balloons and the dais decorated beautifully with garlands and flowers. It was absolutely mind-boggling as a sea of people — farmers, villagers, men, women and children from far away villages as well as from the city of Bhopal could be seen walking in queues stretching over few kilometers towards the venue, with high decibel enthusiasm. The aim was to have a glimpse of the ‘future PM’ Modi and listen to him, along with the BJP bigwigs, even though many of them were unaware of the nuances of politics.
This Mahakumbh has made its mark in the history of BJP as well as in the political history of the country in many ways. First, it registered the highest presence of participants, which according to the party spokesman is “the biggest political gathering by a single party in the world and it would be recorded by the Guinness Book of Records officials in due course”. Second, the conclave marked the birth-anniversary of Bharatiya Jan Sangh leader and ideologue Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and third, the BJP’s top brass decided to give its best shot to bring the party to power at the Centre, at a venue which was once ruled by the legendary Raja Bhoj.
Modi said that bringing back the BJP to power both at the Centre and in the states of MP (for the third successive term), Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi — which are likely to go to polls soon — would be an apt tribute to Pt Upadhyay, on his centenary in 2015-16.
Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee had once said if I had two Deen Dayal Upadhyayas with me, I would have changed the course of the nation (Hindustan).
The unsaid yet strong presence and influence of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) — the guiding factor in the BJP, could be felt when Shri Advani handed a ceremonial bouquet to Shri Modi, and in response the latter touched the feet of the party patriarch. Despite the warmth of the Sun and the vibrating ambience created by the BJP workers, the chill between Shri Advani and Shri Modi was apparent both to the public and the media.
Interestingly, the representative of almost 90,000 Muslims in the Mahakumbh said that instead of talking about the 2002 Gujarat riots, the time had come to work for progress and development along with the Hindus. “We can’t let the Congress exploit us forever.”
Shri Advani in his speech acknowledged the efforts of Shri Chouhan and his team for the Mahakumbh, saying in more than six decades of his political career, he had never seen such a humongous gathering. “From an opposition party, we gradually rose to be at the Centre for six years under Atal Behari Vajpayeeji’s leadership only due to our work,” he said.
And no doubt, the success of the Mahakumbh was evident. The man behind the successful organisation of this mega event was state BJP president Narendra Singh Tomar, who consciously tried to maintain a low key and preferred to remain a backroom boy.
The economic and developmental issues found place in the Mahakumbh. “Late PM Indira Gandhi started the 20-point programme during the Emergency and while it came to implementation, the top five states in terms of achievement have either been a BJP ruled state or an NDA-ally state,” noted Modi.
The term ‘Inclusive Growth’ and ‘BIMARU state’ were referred to as an analogy to explain the state of economy in the country and in MP per se, in the speeches of the BJP leaders. “In 2003, MP had been suffering from power crisis, bad roads, water scarcity, etc, and was tagged as a BIMARU state, but in a decade, it has come in the category of developing states, challenging Punjab in agricultural growth,” pointed out the Opposition Leader in Rajya Sabha, Shri Arun Jaitley.
Shri Modi was quick to remind that in the 60-year Congress regime, the party never spoke on inclusive growth. It was only after BJP began working on that line, that the Congress began accepting its importance and began mentioning it in its speeches.
Exhibiting his strong belief that the BJP would emerge as a winner in the 2014 general election, the party’s national president Rajnath Singh said it was only during the NDA regime that price and inflation could be under control.
Chouhan’s prescription to strengthen MP’s economy and to take it to the level of developed states was to focus on agriculture, food-processing, textiles, power, IT and micro and small enterprises.
Modi in his inevitable style said instead of fielding its own candidates, the Congress would use the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Income Tax department to contest the forthcoming elections, and BJP-ruled states including MP should be careful as they might have to face the brunt.
(The writer is a senior journalist writing on Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh for many years)