BJP National Executive- Presidential Speech

via Press Release published on June 2, 2008

Friends, we
have once again gathered for the National Executive Meeting of the BJP in the
capital of India. Today’s National Executive is witness to a historical moment
not only for the BJP but also for the entire country as it is taking place
immediately after a glorious achievement of the BJP. We are all aware about our
achieving a grand success in Karnataka. For this, firstly I would like to
express my gratitude to the people of Karnataka and also congratulate all the
dedicated party workers and leaders in Karnataka for their tireless work and
efforts. Along with them I would like to specially congratulate the newly
elected Chief Minister of Karnataka Shri B. S. Yedurappa, State President Shri
Sadanand Gawda, National General Secretary Shri Anant Kumar, the State Prabhari
for the past one year and National Vice President Shri Yashwant Sinha and Shri
Arun Jaitley who as the Election Prabhari went there to efficiently manage the
elections.

The victory of
Karnataka will prove to be a milestone in India politics for both BJP and NDA.
The victory of Karnataka symbolizes not only the political expansion of the BJP
but also its social and geographical expansion. The blossoming of the
‘Lotus’ in Karnataka is a message of the blossoming of lotus in South India, the
long term impact of which will be visible in the years to come.

In addition to
being an expression of the people’s lack of confidence in the Congress and UPA
government at the centre, the victory of Karnataka also is a message to all
political parties that the lifespan of the politics of opportunism and betrayal
is very short. The victory of Karnataka is a vote of confidence given by
the people in answer to the politics of duplicity.

Our winning
streak over the last two years in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Himachal and now
in Karnataka will not halt. I am confident that in November 2008, with the
support of the people, we will hoist the flag of victory in Madhya Pradesh,
Rajasthan, Delhi and Chhattisgarh. Thereafter, in the elections that will take
place in March-April 2009, the NDA will form the government at the centre and
the people of the country will hand over the reins of the country to our beloved
leader Shri Lal Krishna Advaniji by giving the responsibility of Prime
Ministership to him.

I can clearly
assert today that the BJP is the natural political party of this country. I feel
elated in saying that we have been able to once again win the election to Betul
Lok Sabha seat in Madhya Pradesh which had become extremely prestigious. At the
same time we won Hamirpur Lok Sabha election in Himachal Pradesh with record
votes. Our ally the Shiv Sena has won the Thane Lok Sabha seat. Alongwith
Karnataka we have won three Lok Sabha by-elections while the Congress could not
win a single seat.

Friends, after
the victory in Karnataka if we visualize the expanse of the BJP in the national
scenario, then in the north in Punjab and Himachal, in the west in Gujarat and
Rajasthan, in the east in Orissa and Bihar, in the north-east in Meghalaya and
Nagaland, in central India in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and now in the
south in Karnataka the governments of the BJP and our allies are giving a clear
indication that the BJP has now become the largest political party of the
country. Today more than 200 Lok Sabha seats are in these states.

On the other
hand less than 125 Lok Sabha seats are in the states ruled by Congress and its
allies. Not only this, over the last six months we have been able to expand our
organization upto the booth level. More that 60% of the booth units have already
been constituted. Whereas, the organization of the Congress exists only upto the
block level. Therefore, we can clearly say that the Congress Party’s
longstanding claim of being the largest party of the country both politically
and organizationally has weakened and the BJP has emerged as the largest party
of the country both in political and organizational terms. Now we are the
obvious frontrunners for the Lok Sabha elections.

We are passing
through a historic phase. The eyes of the nation are set upon the BJP led NDA.
The role of each one of us has become important. The BJP’s duty towards the
nation has increased. We will have to be alert about our duties at our
respective positions. People are not willing to accept even a minute mistake on
our part. Friends, we need to pledge towards becoming a strong link of trust in
politics through which we will create a wave of faith and exuberance in the
minds of people and meet their expectations.

Our meeting
was to take place in Jaipur. The meeting was supposed to last for three days.
Now it is taking place over two days. We all know why we had to cancel the
meeting in Jaipur and shift it to Delhi. Rajasthan has been inflicted by a
double setback. The soil of the pink city of Jaipur was bloodied simultaneously
at several places by bombs of the terrorists. I pay my condolences to all the
innocent citizens and their bereaved families who were killed in this dastardly
act. On the other hand, the sad and unfortunate incidents of violence that have
taken place on the issue of reservation have shocked not only the people of
Rajasthan but also the entire country. I appeal to all the sections of society
in Rajasthan as well as the neighbouring states to exercise restraint and pay
offer my tributes to all the innocent people who have been killed in this
reservation movement.

Friends, the
Congress led UPA presented a report card on its four years rule. We believe that
the real report card of the UPA has been presented through the mandate of the
people in the form of the election results of Punjab, Uttarakhand, Himachal,
Gujarat and Karnataka over the last one year. In democracy, only the report card
presented by the people can be considered to be the real one. In the people’s
report card, the Congress led UPA is already counting its last days in the last
year of its tenure.


The
Past Few Months

Over the past
three to four months many things have happened within the country. However in
the process of things happening, nothing has reduced. Everything has only
increased. From problems of the common man to uncontrolled increase of prices,
from terrorism to demands of adopting a soft approach towards terrorists, from
the increase of interest rates on loans to the problems of industry and the
unending stream of farmer’s suicides, everything appears to be increasing only
in a conspicuous problematic manner.

The central
government presented the Union Budget three months ago. The budget appeared so
lucrative that the public was misled into believing that this was a public
welfare budget. However, the truth is that instead of being based on strong
fundamentals, the budget was prepared only to fulfill political objectives and
the mirage that was created has become apparent to the people within merely a
month or two. The Union Finance Minister had claimed that in the budget he has
presented solutions for all the problems of the public. However, immediately
after the budget, inflation increased and so have the problems of industry. To
garner popularity and without applying its mind to the consequences, the report
of the Sixth Pay Commission was presented in a tearing hurry. However, the
problems of the common man continued to increase. As a consequence of
all this, the common man has today been forced to think about what is this
medicine that has been prescribed by the Finance Minister which only results in
the disease increasing.

Friends, this
is supposed to be an age of marketing. In marketing, packaging and promotion are
extremely important. Many large companies and their economists believe that
packaging and promotion are even more important. Probably our Finance
Minister has also fallen prey to the psychology of modern marketing. He packaged
and promoted the budget but if the product itself lacks strength, then both the
product and economic system were doomed to fail in the market.
That’s
why in my opinion, the people of the country have to clearly understand, if
despite being in power for four years at a stretch under the highly learned and
expert Finance Minister and Prime Minister prices are still uncontrollable and
the market is in disarray, then it means that the government’s basic economic
policy and its economic intention is grossly flawed.


Price
Rise

It appears
that the current administrators of the nation are completely oblivious about the
extent to which the common man has been burdened by the unending price rise.
Today’s price rise is multi-dimensional. I am calling it multi-dimensional
because not only have prices risen but the availability of products have also
been impacted. Items of daily use such as food and cooking gas that were easily
available in the market in abundance during the NDA regime, today not only have
their prices increased but their shortage is also being felt.

Simultaneously, the government comes out with statements that are not
only peculiar but also painful. For example the Deputy Chairman of the Planning
Commission Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia said that development cannot be sacrificed
for the sake of inflation. I would like to ask not only the learned Deputy
Chairman of the Planning Commission but also our leaned economist Finance
Minister and Prime Minister that is development possible only by crushing the
common man under the burden of inflation? Can’t these experts see an alternate
model of development? Did not development take place in the tenure of the NDA?
Was not inflation under control? Is this the same hand of the Congress
Party which came to power on the claim of being with the common man
and
today is willing to sacrifice all the requirements of the common man for the
sake of building a so called palace of development. And that too such
development that is not being reflected anywhere. The BJP will never
accept a policy that seeks to build a palace by sacrificing a hut.

I would like
to remind the people of the country that during the tenure of the NDA government
the international situation was even more hostile. We conducted nuclear tests at
Pokhran. I would like to remind everyone that on account of the Pokhran nuclear
tests we were facing international sanctions. During the same period while we
were facing sanctions we had to encounter foreign aggression in Kargil.
Therefore, despite facing aggression and sanctions, we were able to
control inflation and also undertake development. Does the government today have
to face an international scenario that is worse than facing aggression and
international sanctions? The government is merely making excuses to cover up
their incapability in controlling inflation.

In this
meeting a resolution on price rise will be presented for discussion tomorrow.
That’s why I do not wish to speak in detail about this.


Food
Crisis

In a country
where from the Indus to Sutlej to the Brahmaputra, and from the Narmada to the
Cauvery lies the world’s most fertile and possibly largest alluvial plain, in
that country a food crisis and that too getting created in absence of drought,
floods or natural calamity, then besides the government’s short-sightedness and
incapability what can it be called? Today one of the biggest factors for rising
prices is lack of adequate food stocks with the government. These food stocks
have not reduced overnight but the situation has built up over the last two
years. The situation which began in April 2006 reached a point of shortage of 5
million tones by July 2007. Despite these circumstances, the government decided
to permit wheat export by private companies. The government was aware that this
food shortage is not because of lower foodgrain production but rather on account
of lack of proper storage and adequate distribution facilities. Yet, by
permitting export of wheat by private players, the government further aggravated
the situation.


Farmer’s Package

In the Budget
the government had claimed that the loans of the farmers will be waived. By the
end of June the work on waiving off the farmers loans was to be completed. Today
is 1st June. I would like to know from the government what is the progress with
respect to the farmer’s loans being waived off? By now the loans of how many
farmers have been waived off and these farmers belong to which category and how
much relief has till date reached those farmers who are trapped in the vicious
debt cycle of private moneylenders? Now that three months have passed since the
Budget was presented, the country’s farmers want to know at what pace is the
much publicized loan waiver package meant for them progressing?

In my opinion
and I have been repeatedly saying that until the farmer’s purchasing power and
capacity for investment is increased, till that time agriculture will continue
to be a losing proposition. And farmers will continue to leave agriculture. In
the decade of the 1990s, according to the figures presented in the census,
around 80 lakh people felt compelled to leave agriculture between 1991 and 2001.
These 80 lakh people left agriculture in the absence of any alternate employment
opportunities. This means that unemployment is not rising only on account of
increasing population but also on account of people leaving agriculture.

During the
last National Council I highlighted that 77% of India’s population still
survives on an income of less than Rs 20 to 40 per day. This segment virtually
comprises people in rural and agricultural areas. According to data of the 59th
Round of the National Sample Survey, the average monthly per capita
expenditure of an Indian farm household
in India is only Rs 503 per
month and this is very close to the poverty line. You can well imagine that in
an income of Rs 503 about 60% gets spent on food alone and what must be left for
other expenses of a poor farmer. It is difficult to even imagine how much rise
in prices of foodgrains would have impacted these people. It is worth thinking
about what meaning independence holds for this huge segment of the country’s
population even after 61 years of independence.

The government
declares an incomplete loan waiver package but mere loan waiver will not help
those farmers who have already left agriculture. For improving the agrarian
system the government will have to undertake some concrete measures. In this
budget the government has not made any provision regarding the farmer’s
purchasing power, assuring them income and securing their economic future. In
this situation the farmers cannot get any substantive or permanent benefit.

I am not
saying all this from a political point of view but on the basis of solid facts.
The government announced a special package for the Vidarbha region. First the
Chief Minister of Maharashtra and then the Prime Minister announced packages.
However, according to the CAG report even after the announcement of both
packages the number of farmers suicides kept increasing. The CAG report
also states that farmers suicides went on increasing even after the announcement
of the loan waiver package. The true picture of the much talked about loan
waiver package for the Vidarbha region is clearly seen in the report of the
Comptroller & Auditor General.
That is why I say that the agrarian
crisis has to be studied in great depth and on the basis of its extensive
dimensions. No relief will be possible only through short term remedies.

The National
Sample Survey and CAG report, the evidently visible pathetic condition of the
farmers as well as the ever increasing farmers suicides which even the
Agriculture Minister has accepted in Parliament that over the past few years one
lakh fifty thousand farmers have committed suicide, are these not enough to
force the government to think about convening a special session of Parliament
only to discuss the problems of the farmers and the agrarian crisis? I had
raised this issue in our last National Council Meeting. The government has not
paid any attention to this. The subject with which 75% of the country’s
population is directly or indirectly connected; because of which the food crisis
impacts every person, on that issue cant the Parliament take out seven days for
a discussion? This is a sad irony.


Even
at a personal level I feel pained about the insensitivity of government. I
appeal to all political parties of the country to collectively build pressure on
UPA government to convene a special session of Parliament to discuss the
agrarian crisis, in which the government should present for discussion a minimum
10 year long term programme for solving the agrarian and food crisis. Parliament
should discuss this and then the outcome must be treated as a pledge of
Parliament.

In reality, in
the policy of the government, agriculture is not treated as a primary subject
but instead has become a second rated subject. The policy of treating farmers
and agriculture as second rate started under the British and continues even
today. This not only impacts India’s economic and social reality but also
negatively impacts our national existence.

This is not my
personal view. The Chairman of the Farmers Commission and eminent agricultural
expert Dr M S Swaminathan has also said that unlike other nations, in
India agriculture cannot be treated as merely a food grain producing machine but
rather it is the backbone for the livelihood of three-fourths of our
population.
Those who are advising people to move away from agriculture
are ignoring a harsh reality that on doing so 50 crore people will get added to
the list of landless labour and the unemployed.

The importance
of agriculture has been understood not only by experts but also by great seers.
The great visionary of modern age Maharishi Aurobindo in an article written by
him in Vande Mataram in March 1908 said “The life of a nation is always
rooted in its villages but that of India is so deeply and persistently rooted
there, that no change or revolution can ever substitute for this source of sap
and life. The Western system makes the city centre and the village a mere feeder
of the city. This has been perhaps an obstacle to national unity but it has also
been an assurance of national persistence. It is an ascertained principle of
national existence that only by keeping possession of the soil can a nation
persist.”


If
life is not possible without food then a nation without land is not possible
either. The pledge of nation building is a farce without it encompassing
agriculture and the villages, the perpetual symbol of our great nation’s life
and vibrancy.
This is what the present UPA government is doing with the
villages, poor and farmers. If we get an opportunity to form a government at the
centre then we will revive and re-establish both agriculture and the villages.


Sixth
Pay Commission

The government
had declared in the budget that by 31st March the Sixth Pay Commission report
for the government employees will be made public. Friends, the report of the
Sixth Pay Commission has come out but the kind of dissatisfaction it’s
recommendations have generated among the various groups has never been witnessed
before.

The officials,
staff and personnel of the military and paramilitary forces have registered
their objections. Probably for the first time in the history of India retired
officials and military personnel belonging to the security forces were compelled
to agitate against the government. A former army General has even written a
letter to the government. To deal with these reactions the government has
constituted a secretary level Review Committee. Since the grievances of the
military personnel are against the bureaucracy, therefore I am doubtful whether
an easily acceptable solution will emerge from this secretary level committee.
Therefore, I urge the government that a committee of ministers should analyse
the recommendations of the Review Committee before any final decision is taken
and it would be preferable if someone from the security forces is also made a
part of the Review Committee.

It is my
personal opinion that if the government has recommended time bound promotion for
the IAS upto the level of Joint Secretary, then the same provision should also
be made for the security forces. There should also be an arrangement for “Second
Assured Career” for all those officials and military personnel upto 60 years of
age after they leave the security forces. I am saying all this because being in
the military is not merely a profession but instead it symbolizes a commitment
and spirit of sacrifice for the country and in no other profession there is a
need to risk one’s life to this extent. While the loss of life cannot be
compensated in any manner but if the government fails to satisfy our military
personnel in terms of salary expectations, then it may lead to long-term
implications. Today, given the state of the country’s internal and external
security environment, the importance of the armed forces has increased
substantially. The BJP clearly believes that in such circumstances nothing
should adversely impact their spirit. I urge the government to pay special
attention to this issue. In addition to this there is also widespread discontent
among the teachers and other sections of employees. The government should make
arrangements for addressing their objections.

In my speech
at the National Council Meeting in Delhi I had demanded that keeping in view the
salaried class, the government should raise the standard limit of income tax to
one and half lakh rupees. The government had to make such a provision in the
budget. Simultaneously we had also demanded an increase in the rate of interest
on Provident Fund. However, the government has not taken any effective steps on
this issue.


I
demand that with regard to recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, the
government should ensure a better balance keeping in view interests of all
sections of government employees.


Terrorism

On the issue
of terrorism, the Bharatiya Janata Party has always stood for a very clear and
strong approach. However, after coming to power at the centre, the UPA
government has started viewing this important issue from the point of view of
vote bank politics. In a completely unreasonable and absolutely incorrect
manner, it has attempted to establish the ongoing actions against terrorism as
actions against the minority community and against the Muslim community in
particular. That is the reason why among the first steps that this government
took after coming to power was the removal of the anti-terrorist law POTA. The
government believed that by doing so it would be able to gain the sympathy of a
particular community. This has not been done by the Congress for the first time.
Earlier also the Congress had criticized the anti-terrorist law TADA for similar
reasons. The BJP has continuously opposed this step of the government over the
past four years.

Recently, the
State Department of the United States of America released a report on the status
of terrorism in all the nations of the world. According to this report, India is
the worst terrorism affected countries of the world. In the year 2007 alone
22,000 people became victims of terrorism. However in India alone, more than
2300 lives were lost. The issue is not about being the most affected
nation by terrorism. The report has also outlined the reasons for this and
stated that in India the law enforcement machinery is very ill-equipped and we
have a slow and laborious legal system here.
This means that in India
the law enforcement agency is not equipped with the required laws and the
process of dispensing justice is also very slow and cumbersome. Now that even
international agencies are indicating that India does not have required
arrangements to deal with terrorism then why the government does not still feel
the need to create special arrangements.

Speaking at a
seminar in Delhi, the Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan said that though
it was not his subject but he believed that in the given circumstances a strong
anti-terrorist law in India has become necessary.

Over the last
four years all the important cities and national centres have become targets of
terrorism. Now terrorism is expanding itself even in the interiors of the
country. About six months ago, bomb exploded within the court premises of
Lucknow, Faizabad and Benares, and in January the CRPF camp in Rampur was
attacked, thereafter on 13th May the serial bomb blasts shook the otherwise calm
and peaceful town of Jaipur in which 60 people were killed and more than 200
injured. The BJP has strongly condemned this utterly dastardly act. Recently, at
Indore in Madhya Pradesh, many activists of the banned organisation SIMI were
arrested as they were in the midst of planning a big terrorist attack. All these
clearly indicate as to how terrorism is spreading its roots in interior parts of
the country. Terrorism is a complex national problem which cannot be pushed over
to states by considering it as a law and order problem. The central government
continues to keep pending Acts against organised crimes passed by Gujarat,
Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh legislative assemblies. I would like to question
the central government about its intention on this issue. If they want to
honestly support state governments in their fight against terrorism then they
should immediately grant approval to these Acts. Over the last few months, the
government has pointed out that the share market and nuclear establishments of
the country are in the shadow of terrorist attacks and infiltration. Can all
these issues be treated as general law and order issues of a single state or
states? This is a national problem and central government has completely failed
in tackling it.

It is amply
clear that India requires an effective and strong anti-terrorism law. We have
also earlier said that if the government introduces any anti-terrorism law in
the Parliament we will support it. Even after being completely exposed
within and outside the country, if the government still does not feel the need
for an anti terrorism law, then this would not only reflect its immaturity but
also raises questions about the honesty of the government.
The people
of the country will not tolerate dishonesty on the issue of national security
and will give a befitting reply to the UPA government in the forthcoming
elections.

To highlight
the UPA government’s approach on terrorism I would like to present the examples
of two highest authorities within the government. The Prime Minister went to the
extent of saying that he was unable to sleep throughout the night in sympathy
towards Dr. Muhammad Hanif who was arrested in Australia in connection with the
attack on Heathrow airport in London. Over 60 have been killed and hundreds have
been injured in the terrorist attack in Jaipur. I would like to question the
Prime Minister about what sort of reactions came to his mind after this
incident? How restless did he feel? The government should be more
sensitive towards the victims of terrorism and on the death of the security
forces who are fighting the terrorists than just on the interrogation of a
person on charges of terrorism.

The second
example refers to the Home Minister Shivraj Patil when he drew a comparison
between the cases of Sarabjit and Afzal. We condemn the Home Minister’s
statement of seekiong to equate a patriotic innocent citizen with a terrorist
convicted of attacking the highest institution of the country.
The
statement of the wife of Sarabjit, Sukhbir Kaur, which came in the media clearly
said that “I and my daughters are not ready to accept the release of Sarabjit in
exchange of any terrorist. We are patriots and nothing is above the nation.” But
this government sees one thing over and above the nation and that is vote bank
politics.

It is worth
mentioning about the recent fatwa issued by one of the most prestigious
religious centres of the Muslim community Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband which stated that
the killing of innocent citizens by te

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