First Press Statement of BJP’s New President Nitin Gadkari

published on December 25, 2009

Press Statement issued by Shri Nitin Gadkari at his first press conference as National President of the BJP in New Delhi

December 24, 2009

It gives me great pleasure to meet friends from the national media in my first press conference as President of the BJP. I extend a warm welcome to all of you. I wish you – and, through you, all my countrymen – Merry Christmas and also a Happy and Prosperous 2010. I also wish our source of inspiration Respected Atal Behari Vajpayee Ji a long and healthy life on the eve of his birthday.
I am truly overwhelmed by the trust and confidence that my party has reposed in me by entrusting this new responsibility to me. I am acutely aware that I am carrying a heavy responsibility on my shoulders. However, no task is arduous for any committed Karyakarta of my party if he resolves to remain truthful to its basic ideology and idealism, as embodied by Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay; if he continues to be guided by the inspiring legacy of our two tallest leaders, Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee and Shri Lal Krishna Advani; if he displays an earnest eagerness to learn from seniors and juniors alike in an atmosphere of team work and discipline, which have always been the hallmark of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and the BJP; and if he derives his strength from, and in turn strengthens, the vast army of fellow Karyakartas, including those in the lowest and the farthest units of party.
I am first and foremost a Karyakarta. I know, and wish to re-affirm today, that my fellow-Karyakarta’ spirit of sacrifice, struggle and tireless service to the party and the nation is the greatest guarantor of the strength of my party. In so far as party organisation is concerned, discipline, determination and mutual trust and respect will be the cornerstones of our functioning.
Nationalism, our ideological foundation: BJP is an India – First party. We look at BJP as an instrument of Nation Building. Nationalism was, is and will always remain the foundation of my party’s ideology and also the fountainhead of inspiration for every party worker. Indian nationalism is rooted in our ancient culture, which is inclusive, integrative and a source of inspiration for every patriotic Indian. The BJP remains committed to genuine secularism (Sarva Dharma Sama bhav), not vote-bank secularism. It brooks no distinction or discrimination between citizens of India on the lines of caste, religion, language, region or ethnicity. India belongs to all, and all belong to India. All have equal rights. At the same time, all also have equal responsibility to make India stronger and united.

Therefore, the BJP will continue to oppose tooth and nail any policy and any attempt that has the potential to endanger national unity and security. Our opposition to separatism in Jammu & Kashmir, and to massive infiltration of Bangladeshis into Assam and other parts of the country, which the Congress party has been encouraging purely for myopic vote-bank considerations, stems from this supreme concern for India’s unity and security.

Zero-tolerance towards terrorism and Naxalism:

The same concern prompts me to reiterate today my party’s unwavering stand that India must adopt a “zero tolerance” approach to fighting terrorism and Naxalism. Recent disclosures about the frequent reconnaissance visits to India by international jihadi conspirators like David Coleman Headley involved in the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai, and the worrisome findings contained in the Pradhan Committee report, indicate that our security system has loopholes that could again be exploited by the enemies of the nation. Like terrorism, Naxalism, which is inspired by the anti-national foreign ideology of Maoism, also continues to claim many innocent lives, including the lives of our security personnel. I urge the UPA government to be firm in combating these twin threats, and pledge my party’s support to every right step it might take in this direction.

Politics as an instrument for socio-economic reform and nation building: Since it is my commitment to nationalism that drew me into politics, prosperity of India and welfare of its entire people are at the very core of my ideological belief. My subsequent experience in public life, and my stint as a legislator and minister, has further steeled my conviction that politics cannot be a battlefield for power; rather, it should be an instrument for socio-economic reform and nation building. I believe that the time has come for India to have a single-minded focus on development. The BJP believes in egalitarian development. In order to achieve this, we will also try and evolve an internal Performance Audit Mechanism to ensure Good Governance at every level where BJP is in power.
Sadly, the Congress has followed the path of “Development for some and Deprivation for the rest”, which is both unsustainable and dangerously destabilizing.  The recent revelation by the committee headed by Prime Minister’s Economic Advisor, Dr. Suresh Tendulkar that the population of the poor in India has increased by 10 per cent is a warning signal. What is more worrisome is that poverty in rural India stands at 42 per cent, and not 28 per cent as was estimated earlier. The plight of the poor, and also of the middle-classes, is made worse by skyrocketing price rise, which the UPA government has completely failed to check.
Transforming this reality has to be seen as the first duty of the political establishment. I therefore would like to tell my party men to derive inspiration from the desire to bring a smile on the faces of underprivileged brethren, to end the distress of farmers that has forced thousands of them to commit suicide, to eliminate malnutrition that is killing tens of thousands of tribal children, to create employment opportunities for our talented youth.
Commitment to Antyodaya:

Development is high on my agenda. The BJP-led NDA government, under the visionary premiership of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, used the people’s mandate to accelerate and broad base development. Today I would like to encapsulate my party’s development philosophy in the following slogan: “Nationalism is our Inspiration. Development through Good Governance is our Tool, and Antyodaya (which means giving priority to the last person in the queue, i.e. the most deprived sections including the SCs, STs, OBCs and other weaker sections) is our Objective.” As a concrete expression of our commitment to this slogan, I would like every BJP member to be actively associated with at least one Vikas (development) and Seva (service) project in his or her area of work.

BJP will emerge stronger in the next three years: Let me underscore the fact that BJP is a natural party of governance wedded to good governance, faster and inclusive development and national security, both internal and external and hence the only alternative to Congress.  The BJP is proud of having transformed India’s polity from a Congress-dominated single-pole system into a bi-polar system. The BJP is also proud of giving leadership to the National Democratic Alliance, a platform on which all non-Congress and non-Communist parties are welcome. My goal is to see that the BJP emerges stronger in the next three years, both in states where it is traditionally well established and also in those states where it so far has a marginal presence. Simultaneously, the BJP will also strive to expand and consolidate the NDA as a robust platform for opposition unity.

To achieve this goal, the first requirement is galvanization of the BJP’s party organization at all levels. Striving for further geographical expansion of the party and making it further strong and unified will be my first priority.

Lastly, I request all my well wishers to not to offer me flowers or garlands and instead offer the money that you may be spending to Kisan Sahayata Kosh for the benefit of families of those farmers who have committed suicide.

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