The BJP National Council at Kozhikode reignites the memories of historic Calicut session of 1967 in Which Deendayal Ji paved the way for unusual political journey rooted in nationalist ideology and national reconstruction
T Satisan from Kozhikode
The national council meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party held in Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya Nagar, Kozhikode (earlier called as Calicut), on September 24 to 25, 2016 was an occasion for nostalgic memories and pride and rejoicing moments for lakhs of people in Kerala, especially Kozhikode. Because, as all readers are aware by now, Bharatiya Jan Sangh, pre-cursor of BJP, held its national conference in Kozhikode in December 1967. The conference elected legendary Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, its longtime general secretary and the backbone of the party, as the president. He was succeeding Prof. Balraj Madhok. Now, the BJP national council meeting marked the golden jubilee of the historic BJS conference and the centenary of Deendayalji, the architect of the nationalist politics in Bharat.
From BJS to BJP: A Saga of Nationalist Political Movement
Those days, even though BJS was the second largest party in the whole country given the total votes polled in parliamentary elections held in 1967, its Lok Sabha tally was 35 whereas Swatantra Party, the largest opposition party in LS had 44 members! The same time BJS was a coalition partner in few states like UP, MP, Bihar and Punjab. Political students of this century will be taken by surprise to hear that Communist Party of India (CPI) was BJS’s partner in Bihar. And, Jan Sangh was showing the signs of an upcoming alternative to Congress. Naturally, the people in Kerala, who considered Jan Sangh as a non-starter, could witness the elegance of a ruling party when the conference took place in Kozhikode. It was the beginning of a new era that an RSS pracharak, a behind-the-curtain leader of modest and humble qualities, took over as the president. Until then Deendayalji was never seen in the limelight of politics. Stalwarts like founder president Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Dr Reghuveera, etc. were well known public leaders with an international reputation whereas Deendayalji led a life of an exemplary RSS pracharak. Even though he had been controlling the whole party apparatus for 15 years as the general secretary and performed as the ideologue of the party who gifted the masterpiece work Ekatma Manav Darshan (Integral Humanism) to not only his party but also to the mankind, he always led rajguru’s role. The legend went like this : Deendayalji was never a popular leader, but he created hundreds of popular leaders. He was never an orator but created hundreds of orators of sterling performance. AB Vajpayee, LK Advani, Jagannath Rao Joshi, etc. belong to these categories. The same time he took special efforts to create another sort of leaders of his calibre, leaders who control the show from behind the curtain. Nanaji Deshmukh, Sundar Singh Bhandari, Jagdishprasad Mathur, etc. belonged to this category.
But, unfortunately, Deendayalji could not complete his divine mission of novel sort of Bharatiya rajneethi in our country. The country lost him on the 41st day of his take over as the party president. At that time party did not have much MPs. MLAs, ministers, leaders, etc. Still, the 1967 conference created a great impact and golden waves in Kerala, the then stronghold of both CPM and Congress Party. Jan Sangh was like a new born in Kerala politics. RSS was not at all a crucial force in Kerala. Still, the conference was appreciated by all nationalists whereas the people of the opposite views looked at it as an enemy in making. The then Kerala CM and veteran CPM leader EMS Namboodiripadwas not ready to believe that 5,000 people were going to participate in the programme. He was not sympathetic towards the party’s demand to permit the required quantity of rice during those days of stringent regulations in the rice supply. But, party workers opted to bring bundles of their ration rice to cook for them in Kozhikode. When the accommodation was not sufficient hundreds of them agreed to live in the special trains which brought them to Kozhikode.
Deendayalji, in his presidential address, touched several vital issues. Withering away of Congress in 1967 elections to both Lok Sabha and the states simultaneously was one among them. He weighed the pros and cons of the presidential system. He deliberated the moulding of the parliamentary system to suit our situations, the status of the governors, floor crossing of the legislatures, political untouchability, the performance of the non-congress coalition Ministries, Central-State relations, etc. He touched the Kashmir issue and Kutch award, etc. In other words, the people of the whole country, Keralites in particular, heard a political leader’s speech which touched national issues, both current as well as of future. They realised that it was a political leader who talked politics from the nation’s point of view and not just with electroral considerations. He preached and practised the cardinal principle that Muslims should not be treated as vote bank; they should neither be awarded nor be discarded, but should be encouraged to reform from within.
Since the mysterious death of Panditji, Indian politics has seen a drastic transformation. Jan Sangh had several ups and downs in the following LS and State elections. In 1971 LS elections, BJS tally came down to twenty plus. Then came December 1971 war with Pakistan, Bangladesh liberation, etc. BJS, under the able leadership of Atalji and Advaniji, gave wholehearted support to Smt. Gandhi. They stuck on to Vayam Panchadhikam Shatam, the principle propagated by Panditji. Jan Sangh leaders followed Panditji’s footsteps; naturally, the politics of hatred was alien to them. They had seen what sort of hearty relations Panditji had maintained with socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia. They had witnessed the joint statement of Lohiya and Deendayalji advocating for Akhand Bharat, unified Bharat.
Still, BJS, RSS and other opposition groups had to undergo the dark period of Emergency, at the hands of Smt. Indira. It was a period of arrests, jail, oppression, censorship, lock up torture, and the abolition of fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution, etc. BJS as a part of Lok Sangharsh Samiti, fought against the ruthless fascist rule of Smt Indira and her Congress Party and came out with flying colours. Based on the then political circumstances, BJS was dissolved and it merged with Janata Party. But, after the honeymoon period anti RSS forces tried to create problems in the ruling party in the name of ‘dual membership,’ BJS people came out saying that RSS was more important for them than some chairs of power. That led to the formation of BJP in April, 1980.
BJP traversed a lot from 1980 to 2014 and 2016. They had to face a humiliating defeat in 1984 LS elections, after the tragic assassination of Smt. Gandhi and had to end up with 2 LS seats. But, the party inched towards victories after victories as they followed the noble footsteps of Panditji. They stuck on to what Deendayalji taught them. “Nation First” was their slogan. Vajpayee and Advani did not think twice when Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and his Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh requested for their co-operation to adopt new economic reforms to save the country from the biggest ever economic crisis. But, at the same time, the party carried out a lot of popular movements which our countrymen aspired for. Ayodhya movement was one among them. LK Advani’s historic Ayodhya Rathyatra was one among them. Every LS election showed the meticulous growth of the party. It started in 1989 LS elections. PM VP Singh had to run his government with the outside support of BJP. And, in 1996, BJP came out as the single largest party and ran a Union Government for 13 days. Again in 1998 and 1999, BJP ruled the country with coalition partners. BJP leaders took a leaf out of Panditji’s ‘book’ and happily took others with them sans any sort of political untouchability.
Gradually several states came under BJP rule. Some of them embraced it consecutively. At last BJP got its own absolute majority in 2014 LS elections and its most charismatic and efficient leader par excellence Narendra Damodar Das Modi took over as the PM of this great country. It was a great leap forward to the materialisation of the great leader Deendayalji’s dreams. BJP rules 8 States alone and 5 States as a coalition partner.In Kerala, the southern tip of the country, BJP’s
senior leader O Rajagopal won the assembly election and opened the account in Kerala legislature for the first time in the political history of the state. BJP rules several local self-governing bodies and performs as the principal opposition in several others.
The BJP has stood second in 7 constituencies. One among them is Malampuzha, the constituency of CPM veteran and LoP VS Achuthanandan.
The Historic Kozhikode Session
The BJP session in Kozhikode should be viewed from the aforementioned angle. People now see BJP as the largest political party in the whole world and as the right party at the right place. That is why people in Kerala were taking keen interest to see what was happening in Kozhikode. Party workers of six northern districts were expected to participate in the mammoth public rally in Kozhikode Beach on September 24, 2016. Still, it had the beauty and strength of a state rally. That itself underlines the fact that
thousands of people belonging to the general public had attended the rally. In fact, the police failed to organise the smooth transportation for even the VIPs, thanks to the unexpected size of the crowd congregated in the beach. A Chief Minister had to opt for pillion ride on a two wheeler to leave the venue and go back to his
BJP workers were so happy and proud to be a part of the arrangement for the programme. Several people worked round the clock for several days together. Hundreds of men and women came to Kozhikode weeks before as volunteers. Several couples were there. They enjoyed all sorts of manual labour including cleaning of the beach and the venue of the
Strong Message to the Nation: Stark Warning to the Enemy
Like the whole world and the whole nation, Kerala was also too inquisitive to hear what step Narendra Modi was to announce against Pakistan in the light of the attack in Uri. Prime Minister Modi’s public speech in the beach programme was the government’s policy declaration. He blasted Pakistan in the toughest ever language, but he proved that he was one of the best statesmen Bharat has ever produced. He stated that Pakistan is a stumbling block for the Asian
PM Modi said, while we export IT, Pakistan exports terrorism. He added that the countries around Pakistan suffer the worst effects of terrorism. It helps to plant violence around the world. He thundered that Bharat will not bow before terrorism of Pakistan. Bharat accepts the Pak challenge of 1000 years’ war. We have seen their humiliating defeats several times. Bharat will never pardon those who killed 19 of our soldiers in Uri. What happened there is something which we can never forget or forgive. We will elaborate and embarrass Pakistan before the world community. PM said that we have killed 110 terrorists while fighting against 17 infiltrations. The might of our military force is not their weapons, but the mental support of our 125 crore people. He told Pak leaders that their ancestors worshipped the same country until 1947 hence we talk on behalf of Pak people. PM said, Pak government never looked after the interests of the people of Bangladesh, Balochistan and some other places. Pakistan does not have any right to speak on behalf of the Kashmir people. Pak people should question their rulers for drawing inspiration from the terrorists. They should study the difference of economic growths both countries have gained. They should ask their leaders to explain their backwardness. People of Pakistan and Bharat should fight together against poverty and terrorism. Let us see who wins the fight against poverty first. He told Pakistan: “Let us compete in the fields of employment generation and education. Let us compete in minimising the death rate of the newborns and the pregnant women.”
A historic and cultural exhibition was organised in Kozhikode in connection with the BJP National Council. It was named Upadhyayanam in the fond memory of Swargiya Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya. Several pictures of the Jan Sangh conference held in Kozhikode in December 1967 were exhibited. Both old timers and youths lined up to have a glimpse of them. The Adhyaksh Shobha Yatra of Pt. Deendayalji brought sad and nostalgic memories into the hearts of old workers. Youths watched them with utmost regards. Pictures of the martyrs of RSS and Sangh-oriented organisations were exhibited. They showed the CPM’s Stalinist brutality in black and white. There were pictures of various Sangh, BJS, BJP, VHP, BMS and ABVP programmes of the last several decades. They were quite useful for the students of history and Hindu movements in Kerala.
PM made special reference to the hosting state. He said, the state deserves a lot. But, the previous Congress regimes neglected the state. His government’s attitude towards Kerala would be different. He expressed his satisfaction in the development document submitted by the Kerala BJP. He added that the State Government also has to play its own role. He reminded that Integral Humanism was accepted as the guiding light of BJS in Kozhikode session in 1967. The government aims at Antyodaya, the welfare of the last man in the queue. He repeated Deendayalji’s words about Muslims. ‘They are not the vote bank, they are brothers’. He opposed the exploitation of natural resources. The Paris Pact on global warming will be signed on October 2.
Colourful Expressions of Krishna
The exhibition of glass paintings of Sri Krishna done by Jesna, a young Muslim girl from Quilandy, Kozhikode, was an interesting and artistic attraction. From whichever angle one looks at the picture he (or she) feels that Krishna looks at him (her). That is the charm of this great work. She gifted one to BJP president Kummanam Rajashekharan. She has already given one to Guruvayoor temple and she says, it is exhibited inside the temple with a lamp in front of it. When asked if she faces any problem or objection from her community for painting Sri Krishna, she said, it is there, but her father and husband, daily wage earner, are all supportive. She is proud to hear from people who bought Krishna pictures from her that they all had some or other auspicious happenings in their personal life.
‘Terrorism a challenge to Democracy and Civilisation’
Party President Amit Shah denounced the terrorist attack in Uri. He said, Bharat would retaliate in befitting style. Terrorism is a challenge to democracy and civilisation. Pakistan supports and encourages it. The separatist activities in Kashmir are also the operation of Pakistan. Pakistan is the capital of global terrorism. He said, this is the time for the whole country and all political parties to support the government. He claimed, ‘Victory is ours’.
The national council also witnessed the inauguration of Deendayal Centenary celebrations. Prime Minister Modi inaugurated and party president Ami Shah delivered the introductory remarks.
Prime Minister Modiji inaugurated Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya Centenary Celebrations in Deendayal Nagar on September 25, 2016. In the same venue the tallest leaders of the party released the book “Ahuti” containing the names, details and pictures of the martyrs of Sangh and Sangh-oriented organizations in Kerala. The book has been compiled by Sanjeev Sadananda and Nirupaka B. It gives a clear cut idea of the terrified and tragic environment the nationalist forces face in Kerala while working for their ideology.
Through the Lens
In 1967, the print media in Kerala had given very good coverage for the Jan Sangh session. At that time Mathrubhumi said, River Ganga flows to the south. Malayala Manorama also gave sufficient coverage. This time, the coverage was fantastic. Print media gave reasonable coverage. Electronic media organised live telecast of the programmes. Therefore, PM’s public speech reached billions of people living in Bharat and abroad. The untimely immature statement of CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan that BJP Council was anti-Dalit and anti-backward was eclipsed by the media blitzkrieg covering the council news. People could witness the growth of the party from Jan Sangh to BJP; they could observe that despite the growth and power, the ideological moorings remain the same. In 1967, a Sangh pracharak took over as the president. Now, another pracharak is at the helm of the country’s affairs as PM.
Onam Feast Continues…
Since the National Council was to be organised immediately after the Onam, the harvest festival of Kerala, the organisers made it a point to arrange an Onasadya (Onam feast) for the delegates and media men. The pure veg feast was done with organic vegetables brought from Palakkad, Idukki and Wayanad. It was a unique experience for PM, Amit Shah, other leaders and delegates.
Now and Then: Always with a Strong Resolve and leadership
This is the right time to observe the growth of the party from BJS to BJP. BJS, in its Kozhikode session of 1967, passed four resolutions. They were on agriculture, economic situation, national security & foreign policy matters and Kerala’s political conditions. On agriculture, the resolution demanded the abolition of middlemen in the ownership of the land. Land to the farmers was the idea. It also demanded the abolition of levy to save the farmers from poverty. The government was asked to purchase produces from the open market so that the farmers could get
reasonable prices. Seeds and equipments should be made available at subsidised prices. It also demanded minor irrigation projects to avoid drought. On the economic front, the resolution demanded economic policies to suit the conditions of our country and people. On national security, resolution demanded strict options to maintain the security and integrity of the nation. The same time party cautioned against the excessive dependence on the Soviet Union. With respect to Kerala, the
resolution was titled “Communists & Communalists” as Kerala was under the rule of CPM-led Left Front and Maoists had started to raise their heads here and there. Indian Union Muslim League was a partner in the ministry and CPM kept on appeasing them to keep them in the left fold. League controlled the important portfolio of Education. They took all efforts to do favours to their community. We witnessed it on several occasions like the formation of Malappuram district, pension to the Arabic teachers, pension to the
participants of the Khilafat movement of 1921, etc.
The Deendayal Centenary Resolution passed by the national council stressed on the development of all. The party aims at justice-oriented development.Anthyodaya is the goal. Resolution remembered Deendayalji’s words that Jan Sangh was not launched to fill up the gap of a mere alternative political party. But, it was aimed at the national reconstruction through a party based on our culture. Party accepts, with all humbleness, the popular mandate given to PM Modi. The government will take all necessary steps to develop various fields of social and national life, viz., economic, health, food safety, social security, housing, drinking water, cleanliness, toilets, education, health for women, children and the downtrodden, Dalits, etc. It is the duty of the government to bring harmony among people of different thoughts, faiths and ideologies. Hundreds of people sacrificed their life for Jan Sangh and later for BJP. Party remembers them with all respects and regards. Deendaylji believed in the principle of vasudhaiva kutumbakam, the whole world is a family. ‘The party is committed to propagate and practise Deendayalji’s ideals.
In 1967, Deendayalji spoke on the moulding of a party. Now, Amit Shah talks about the country’s affairs as the leader of the party pledged to
implement what Deendayalji thought and talked about in 1967. He leads the largest political movement in the world. His further endeavour is to make it an apparatus for the transformation of the country into the world leader, Jagadguru.
Since BJP runs the union government and governments in 13 states, obviously party’s horizons are widened. The party is conscious of its responsibilities. The party and government do their best to make the country a super economic power of the 21st century. They are duty bound to sort out the communal issues, Dalit issues, minority issues, etc. They are confident of settling all of them with their iron will and ideological legacy of the great son of this country, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.