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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Congress ignores Kargil anniversary —Nityanand Swami

Veteran BJP leader and former Chief Minister of Uttaranchal Shri Nityanand Swami is President of the state BJP’s silver jubilee year campaign. Organiser representative Ravindra Saini spoke to him to know the activities to be conducted by the state BJP during the party’s silver jubilee year. Excerpts:

What types of activities are being undertaken during the party’s silver jubilee year in the state?

The Uttaranchal unit of BJP has already started organising a number of programmes to celebrate the silver jubilee of the party. National Safety Day was observed on May 11, the day India successfully tested the nuclear bomb. Rashtriya Ekatmata Diwas was observed on June 23. It was celebrated in remembrance of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee who sacrificed his life this day for integrity of the country. Workers of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, who had become the victim of the atrocities during the Emergency, were honoured on the 30th anniversary of Emergency. The July 6th tree plantation programmes held in every district of the State were also a big success. We also observed Dadra liberation day on July 22, Kargil Vijay Diwas on July 31 and Goa liberation day on August 2. Similarly, the Jana Sangh foundation day will be observed on October 13.

BJP organised a massive rally of ex-servicemen in Dehradun on July 31. Was it with an eye on the Assembly polls?

I do not hesitate in charging the Congress with ignoring the needs of ex-servicemen and families of those who lost their lives while serving in the defence forces. The rally was aimed at honouring the families of Kargil war martyrs and winners of the gallantry awards. The rally was part of the BJP’s year-long celebrations to mark its silver jubilee. Since Uttaranchal comprises a sizeable chunk of both serving and retired defence personnel and their families, the State was chosen to host the event. The number of the martyrs from Uttaranchal in all wars, since Independence, has been the highest. But the Congress in the State as well as at the Centre has done nothing for them. Even the facilities and benefits accorded by the previous BJP government to families of Kargil martyrs and those injured in wars and anti-terrorist activities, are being withdrawn or stopped by the Congress-led UPA government. It is a fact that the Congress has no respect for those who have laid down their lives for the country. It is reflected in the policies of the UPA government. State BJP has done nothing wrong by highlighting this reality.

Did you expect such a large number of ex-servicemen in the rally?

Yes, we were optimistic and expected such a large number of ex-soldiers to attend the rally, which amazed everyone. Ex-soldiers know the work done by the BJP for the Army during its tenure at the Centre as well as at the State level. During the NDA Government, the additional border allowance was raised up to Rs. 7000, which should have been raised every year but the Congress did not take any interest. The BJP in the State during its tenure had assured of re-employing 3000 ex-soldiers in the State Police and had appointed 500 of them in the police department, but now the Congress government is trying to remove them. It was the Vajpayee government that sent the bodies of the martyred soldiers to their homes with full military honours. It allotted petrol pumps, gas agencies and provided jobs to their dependents.

How do you evaluate three-year performance of Congress government in the State?

People are totally disappointed with the functioning of the Congress government. Shri N.D. Tewari is treading the path of anti-people policies. That is why people of the State have lost faith in the Congress. The three-year performance of this Government has hampered the development of the State. The only achievement that the CM can claim is the uncontrolled corruption in every department. This Government has been responsible for more than 25 major scams.

How do you see the future of the BJP and the Congress in the State?

The BJP will gain the ground in the next elections. The Congress will suffer a major loss as it has stalled all the efforts of the previous BJP government to put the State on the path of development. It has no concern for the people of the State. Ministers and the party workers are busy in making money and enjoying cars with beacon lights. The way the Congress had got power, the same way it will lose.

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