Pseudo-Secularism

Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Stop The Use Of The Word Dharmanirpeksh

The relevant section from the BJP President's speech at the party's National Executive Meeing in New Delhi on June 01, 2008

Rajnath Singh


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 terrorists is an un-Islamic act. I welcome this. Deoband is seeking to dissociate Muslims from terrorism. But the central government wants to equate Muslims with terrorism and on this very basis is rejecting an anti-terrorism law. Perhaps, the central government wants to prove itself as a bigger messiah of the Muslims, even bigger than the Madrassas.

Friends, a government in which the Prime Minister and the Home Minister have such an approach towards terrorism, such a government cannot control terrorism during its tenure.I want to assure the people that if they vote the BJP led NDA to power at the centre then we will bring a strong law against terrorism to crush the morale of the terrorists who seek to operate in India.

The Prime Minister has accepted that terrorism is a national problem and it cannot be dealt with at the level of states alone. He has called for a separate federal investigative agency for dealing with terrorism. I am surprised that the Prime Minister feels the need for a federal investigative agency but does not feel the need for a federal law. This means that there is a need for an army but not for arming the military.

The Problem of Bangladeshi Infiltrators

The recent bomb explosions that took place in Jaipur have once again indicated towards the involvement of terrorist outfits operating out of Bangladesh. Prior to this also, in the bomb explosions that took place in the courts complexes of Lucknow, Faizabad and Benaras, there was proof about the involvement of Bangladeshi outfits. The manner in which people are coming into the country from Bangladesh in an unauthorized manner is not a simple problem. While passing a judgement on the I.M.D.T. Act, the Supreme Court said that the infiltration of Bangladeshis into Assam is not a simple problem but amounts to external aggression on the country. Quashing the I.M.D.T. Act, the Supreme Court in December 2006 dismissed the central notification of February 2006 and questioned the intention of the government in expelling the Bangladeshi infiltrators. "There is a lack of will (on the part of the Centre) in the matter of ensuring that illegal migrants are sent out of the country." The court further observed that normally it desists from commenting on the issue of national security but despite the decision of quashing the notification of 2005 of the I.M.D.T. Act no action had been taken on the basic spirit behind the court’s action. "Though we would normally desist from commenting, when the security of the nation is the issue as highlighted in the 2005 judgment, we have to say that the bona fide of the action leaves something to be desired."

Today when not only in Assam but in the interiors of country and in different places in the Hindi speaking areas, when terrorist attacks are taking place and the proof about the involvement of Bangladeshis is being found, even now the government does not feel the need of formulating an effective plan to expel the Bangladeshi infiltrators? The Government of India should seek to identify all Bangladeshis living in the country and make efforts to deport them back to Bangladesh. The BJP will never tolerate vote bank politics to take place at the cost of the common man’s life and property.

Today, the problem of Bangladeshi infiltrators has spread throughout the country and become a challenge for national security. The Bharatiya Janata Party is accused of opposing the Bangladeshi infiltrators for communal reasons. But we say that we are opposing them for nationalist reasons. Today’s circumstances support our point of view. Today there is a need for all political parties to rise above partisan politics and think about this serious national issue. Vote bank politics can never be more important than the lives of the innocent citizens.

I appeal to all the political parties in the country to reconsider their policies on the problem of Bangladeshi infiltrators with an open mind in the context of the opinion expressed by Supreme Court (on the I.M.D.T. Act) and the Prime Minister should call a meeting in which all the political parties frame a national policy. National security cannot be an issue for politicking.

Anti-National Demands by the Allies of the Congress


Often in politics, in order to protect and increase one’s vote bank, political parties make strange demands. Sometimes these demands negatively impact social order and social harmony. However, over the past few months, allies of the Congress party have put forth certain demands that could have a direct negative bearing on the country’s independence, sovereignty and security.

The first damaging demand was made by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed the leader of the Congress Party’s coalition partner the PDP when he demanded that Pakistani currency should also be allowed to be circulated in Kashmir. Given the effective protests, the government was forced to backtrack on this issue.

The second detrimental demand was raised by the left parties who wanted the Salva Jadum movement of the Chhattisgarh government, formed for the empowerment of the citizens in the rural and tribal areas for fighting naxalism, to be put to an end. However, it is worth noting that the Union Home Minister Mr Shivraj Patil while touring Chhattisgarh had infact praised the efforts of the Chhattisgarh government in combating naxalism.

What is truly worth noting is the demand for ending the Salva Jadum movement meant for the Adivasis to combat the naxalites is being made by the same leftists who themselves heaped atrocities on hapless workers and farmers in Singur and Nandigram. In West Bengal, during the panchayat elections, the number of violent incidents and the role of the CPM cadre in them is thoroughly deplorable. In these incidents many supporters of the BJP and other political parties were injured and one of our supporters was even killed. We offer our condolences to all of them. I personally visited Singur. Advaniji led a NDA delegation to Nandigram. I was able to observe the manner in which the government there used its power to terrorise the local people and how sponsored violence took place under the patronage of the government. The manner in which the leftists have used violence not only in West Bengal but also in Kunnur in Kerala clearly reflects their undemocratic and violent mindset.

Principally, the left has always supported violence and reaction. The loss of mandate for the CPM in the recently concluded panchayat elections in West Bengal is truly noteworthy. As compared to earlier, they lost between 20 to 30% of the gram panchayats. This is the first sign of erosion of the base of the leftists in West Bengal.

Neighbouring Countries and Foreign Policy


After the formation of the UPA government at the centre, the entire country has witnessed how our basic national foreign policy has suffered over the last four years. One no longer sees the same warmth as earlier with Russia which has been one of our oldest and most intimate allies. The relationship with the United States has been centralized to only one issue the Nuclear Deal and even on that the government has not been able to take a decision nor has answered any of the concerns that we have raised before the people. We are all aware about the peculiar situation with regard to the government’s policy on Iran. Over the last four years, there has been no progress on the issue of permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

Even more worrisome is the situation that one sees with regard to foreign policy towards our neighbouring countries. In Afghanistan every other day one hears about cases of kidnapping of Indians who have gone there for employment and some have even lost their lives, yet the government has failed to evolve a plan. There has been no improvement in the situation with Pakistan despite a new government coming to power. The tone that the newly formed government in Nepal has adopted after assuming office raises question-marks on our centuries old relationship with them. The government’s approach on the Tibet issue has been far from satisfactory. On these very issues, today there will be a discussion on a detailed resolution.

For close to a year China’s attitude on Arunachal has been completely contrary to cordial relations. And a few days ago China even raised its claim over a portion of Sikkim on which there has never been any border dispute. The government should clearly present the true picture before the country.

It appears that the central government is either not serious on the sensitive subject of national security or because of the pressure of its left front allies it is willing to ignore China’s every activity. I personally feel that given the tone and posture that China has taken over the past few months, it appears that somehow China feels assured that despite its incorrect posturing, the left parties will not allow the government to adopt any negative stand against it.

Sri Ram Setu

Friends, over the last three to four months, there have been three events on the Ram Setu issue that have forced the government to hang its head in shame. The first incident took place a few months ago when the government of our neighbouring country Sri Lanka officially acknowledged the historicity and religious sanctity of all the sites associated with the Ramayana within Sri Lanka.

The second incident thoroughly exposed the gross misuse of office and position for business interests by the same minister who was chasing the project with such enthusiasm and who belongs to a party that is supporting the government. The third incident took place only a few days ago when the court in a clear direction asked the government to explore alternate routes for the Setu Samundram Project and study the Sri Ram Setu to ascertain whether it is man-made, or a natural formation and whether it can be declared as a national heritage or not. Does the government have any plan of action for this?

The Ram Setu issue is also important from another aspect. The Setu Samundrum Project will eventually result in the linking up of the two major oceans on India’s coastal border and thereafter, alongwith the large vessels that will be able to pass though this area, can the movement of naval fleets be prevented? Has the government taken the opinion of the Navy on this aspect?

The Record of Judicial Criticism


Only 15-20 days ago, the court castigated the central government over the basis on which the Sachhar Committee was constituted. I have mentioned this on previous occasions too that similar to the British system of granting communal awards, the current UPA government has also sowed the seeds of communal divide and one such measure has been the Sachhar Committee. We have been opposing it from the very beginning. In a way the court also while castigating the central government asked how was a survey conducted by keeping a particular community in focus and on what basis did the government decide to do so?

When one studies the details available on the recommendations of the Sachhar Committee, a few interesting facts emerge that some of the members of the Sachhar Committee went on to work beyond its terms of reference. Infact they even suggested that the delimitation of some constituencies should be undertaken in such a manner that the entire muslim population of a district should come within a single electoral area. They went further to the extent of suggesting that all those Lok Sabha seats which have been reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and in which the muslim population is over 19%, the reservation on such seats should be removed and in the future also they should not be reserved. On this basis the Sachhar Committee wanted 23 assembly seats each in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and 17 assembly seats in West Bengal that are reserved for the scheduled castes to be de-reserved. Was it the purview of the Sachhar Committee to decide about delimitation or about the reserved seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes? All these efforts remind us about the political developments of pre-independence days that went on to sow the foundations for partition.

These indicate that the very basis of the formation of the Sachhar Committee appears to be illegal. From the very beginning we have been saying that the Sachhar Committee goes against the core spirit of the Constitution.

This is not the first instance where the courts have made the central government aware about its crossing the limits or in a common man’s language, the government has been castigated by the court.

Prior to this be it the misuse of the office of Governor to usurp the people’s mandate immediately after the Jharkhand elections or preventing a majority government from assuming office in Bihar; be it the attempt of reserving government jobs for muslims in Andhra Pradesh or reserving seats for muslims in Aligarh Muslim University, be it the issue of making changes in the Act of All India Institute of Medical Sciences or selecting an alternate route on the Setu Samundrum Project, the UPA government at the centre has had to face the irritation of the court on numerous occasions. However, it seems that just like an undisciplined person, the government too has become used to this.

Stop the Constitutional Use of the Word “Dharmanirpeksh”

Friends, when India’s Constitution was written in November 1949, then in the Preamble of the Constitution basically India was declared as a “Sovereign, Democratic, Republic”. In context of the Preamble of the Constitution Dr Bhimrao Ambedar said that it should be considered as the soul of the Constitution and if there was to be any doubt regarding any Article then the decision should be taken after studying it with reference to the Preamble. Therefore, fundamentally there should have been no change to the Preamble of the Constitution since it reflected India’s basic character and was an expression of the public sentiment at the time of independence. Yet, in the decade of the 1970s through the 42nd constitutional amendment, the words “Secular” and “Socialist” were added to the Preamble of the Constitution. And after this change the Preamble of India’s Constitution became “Sovereign, Secular, Socialist, Democratic, Republic”. It is only after this change that widespread politics began over the word “Secular” which was publicized as “Dharmanirpekshta”. However, neither technically nor politically, the true meaning of the word “Secular” can ever be “Dharmanirpekshta”. The official Hindi translation of the Preamble of the Constitution published by the Law & Justice Ministry of Government of India, which is also a public document, in that the meaning of the word “Secular” is written as “Panthnirpeksh”.

Friends, there is a big difference in being “Dharmanirpeksh” and “Panthnirpeksh”. Panth or sect symbolizes devotion towards any specific belief, specific way of prayer and specific form of God but Dharma symbolizes absolute and eternal values which can never change like laws of nature. For example one can say Dharma is like the earth or land while Panth is like different paths built over it. Our mind can chose any path, change from one path to another, we can hold different views about the various paths but how can we ever get separated from the earth?

“Dharmapran Nation” means a nation whose actual consciousness is imbibed in Dharma. India is a “Dharmapran” nation and this is evident from Amarnath in the extreme north to Sabarimala Temple in the extreme south, and in Haridwar, Nasik, Ujjain and Prayag where one can see Kumbh Melas in perpetual occurrence.

India’s National Emblem has three lions and carries the eternal message of “Satyamev Jaytev” (Truth Always Triumphs) of the Mundkoupanishad. Truth signifies Dharma and not a sect. India’s National Flag has the Ashoka Chakra in it. This Chakra found in Sarnath is Dharmachakra and basically symbolizes the cycle of Dharma. In India’s Parliament behind the seat of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha “Dharmachakra Pravartanay” (for the propogation of the eternal cycle of Dharma) is inscribed. Therefore, if Dharma is present in the National Emblem, National Flag, and in the supreme seat of Parliament then how can the entire establishment of India be neutral to Dharma or be Dharmanirpeksh?

Probably by understanding these very sentiments, even in the Constitution the word Panthnirpeksh was written. The use of the term Dharmanirpeksh instead of Panthnirpeksh is not only incorrect, unconstitutional, not only against all the national symbols of India but also against the very basis of the real and perpetual ethos of our great nation. The level of pervasion and confusion created in both politics and among the public by the inappropriate use of the word is unimaginable. This also hurts our identity and traditions. India has always been a Panthnirpeksh or sect neutral country. Here from Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Shakht to Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism many sects have flourished. Throughout history there has never been any discrimination with anybody. However, India was never Dharmanirpeksh, is not Dharmanirpeksh and till it’s existence can never ever be Dharmanirpeksh. To make this Dharmapran nation into a Dharma neutral nation is a deplorable attempt to destroy the actual consciousness of this great country. At least after 61 years of independence we should try and come out of this colonial mindset. India needs to come out of the distorted Indianization from the borrowed western thoughts because without appreciating our own identity and also by hurting our own identity India cannot become a proud and powerful nation of the 21st century.

The confusion created by Dharmanirpeksh and Panthnirpeksh cannot be removed only through an explanation. The only solution is to stop the use of the word Dharmanirpeksh. That is why I am announcing that in future we will never use the word Dharmanirpeksh and the Government of India should also issue a directive prohibiting the constitutional use of the word Dharmanirpeksh so that from the Prime Minister to the common public no one constitutionally uses this term and this will prevent confusion and damage from taking place though its usage.

SCIENTIFIC ACHIEVEMENTS

On account of the wrong policies and intention of the central government the overall environment in the country is becoming psychologically extremely pessimistic. At the same time the people of the country also witnessed the achievements of our scientists, who through their tireless efforts and commitment have succeeded in strengthening the country’s strategic and technological power.

Recently, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) by successfully launching ten satellites at the same time marked the dawn of a new era for the country’s space science. The strategic power of the country has immensely increased by the successful testing of the Medium Range Ballistic Missile Agni -3. This missile is capable of precisely hitting a target upto 3000 kilometers aways and of carrying nuclear warheads. Our scientists have expressed hope that by the end of this year a missile of 5000 kilometers range would also be successfully tested.

Today in this context, I recall that only twenty days ago marked the completion of ten years of the Pokhran Tests. The nuclear explosions of Pokhran in 1998 marked the declaration of India’s pride and power in the international arena. India’s international status and ascendance that we witness today was initiated from that point. Today on the completion of ten years, I express my gratitude to the main executer of the operation former President Dr. Abdul Kalam, all his scientist colleagues and our former Prime Minister respected Atalji who displayed exemplary courage in taking the decision.

On the completion of the ten years of the Pokhran Test and for the magnificent success of our scientists for this achievement, the Bharatiya Janata Party salutes them and assures them that on getting the opportunity of being in government, the BJP will provide them every opportunity to develop techniques for the defense of the country in accordance of their capabilities. We will also fulfill our pledge of making India a strong and developed nation by 2020.

ORGANISATION


The BJP has always practiced issue based politics. We never practice politics based on narrow interests. Today on account of the misrule of the UPA government the hardships of the common man have increased. Soaring prices have made the life of the people miserable. The BJP organized a national strike on 2nd May to highlight the distress caused to the common man. As part of this strike against price rise, in all the main towns and at the block levels in all the states, human chains were formed as a sign of protest. People participated in lakhs in this movement. Shops remained closed. Motor rallies were taken out. On the issue of price rise and to draw the attention of the UPA government, at the Parliament a human chain was formed by all NDA parliamentarians under the leadership of respected Lal Krishna Advani ji.

The Jharkhand unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party had been continuously conducting a state wide Jail Bharo movement for the last ten days. During this movement our State President and National Vice President Shri Yashwant Sinha along with other senior leaders were injured and thousands of activists continuously agitated against the state government. The state leaders led the movement on a daily basis. I extend my heartiest congratulations to the Jharkhand unit of the BJP for this extremely successful movement. While this movement is being widely discussed among the people of Jharkhand, it has also received their active support.

I am happy that on the 150th anniversary of First War of Independence of 1857 a nationwide awakening programme organized by the BJP with support of Sanskar Bharti would always be remembered. I once again congratulate all those activists who participated in the events throughout the year and again salute the martyrs who laid down their lives for the freedom of the motherland. I am convinced that future generations will always draw inspiration from the stories of the First War of Independence of 1857 till our eventual independence.

WOMEN’S RESERVATION

The BJP Mahila Morcha organised a historic demonstration at the Ramlila Maidan in February 2008 on the issue of 33% reservation for women. In the history of Delhi such a huge gathering of women had never been witnessed before. I extend my heartiest congratulations to the Mahila Morcha for this most successful rally. In its Delhi session, the BJP carried out the required amendment in its constitution to give 1/3rd representation to women within the organization. Through this the BJP has launched a new chapter in Indian politics. I believe that on account the BJP’s initiative and because of the historic decision of the party to give political participation to women, as a direct consequence of the pressure that got created, the UPA government was forced to table the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament in the last leg of their tenure.

FORTHCOMING ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

This is a moment of great elation for us. We are in government on our own in seven states. In five states we have coalition governments. Wherever we are in government, people have great expectations from us. Therefore, the BJP ruled state governments will have to make continuous efforts to inspire confidence among the people. I feel happy in saying that our governments in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are leading in the effort of undertaking proper development. While in these states we will highlight the developmental activities undertaken by us before the people, in Delhi and these three states we will also highlight the failures of Congress led UPA government at the centre as election issues. According to my information, our state governments in these three states have undertaken numerous decisions for the benefit of the farmers, labourers, women, youth, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. I extend my heartiest congratulations to these three state governments for taking historic decisions to help those people living below the poverty line. Simultaneously I hope that we will form BJP governments in Delhi along with Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

APPEAL

Friends, the seat of power in Delhi is not far for us. We will need to tirelessly work in the coming days. We will need to awaken India’s youth. We will need to use their energy at the organizational level. We all are aware that the youth is always the conduit for change. Youth power is said to be national power. We need to apply ourselves in great detail about how the youth of the country will consider the BJP as their organization, how they will be drawn to our aims and objectives and how they will lean towards our party. I would like to draw your attention to a recent survey conducted on the youth by a leading publication in April on India completing 60 years of independence which also indicates about which direction the country’s youth is in reality being drawn towards. When asked about whom did they consider as the most inspiring Indian of the 20th century, a sample survey of 19,000 respondents through sms and website said that their first choice was Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh and second choice was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. This clearly indicates that even today the feeling of nationalism reverberates in the pulses of the youth. Such emotions of the youth can only be represented through the Bharatiya Janata Party. We need to make extensive efforts on this front to ensure that more and more youth come along with us.

Similarly the lead which the BJP has taken in creating leadership of women by giving them 1/3rd representation, in the same manner we need to empower women. The BJP believes in complete social harmony. Every section of society must be developed. On this occasion I would like to appeal to the minorities of the country that they should be wary of those who practice politics in the name of so called secularism. The BJP treats the minorities not as vote banks but as committed citizens of the country.

Friends, from the core of their hearts, the people want to hand over power to the BJP. We also want the nation to experience an environment of value based politics. Alongwith Cultural Nationalism, Article 370, Uniform Civil Code and True Secularism, we are committed to preserve the national unity and integrity. We always maintain that power is a means and not an end for us. I have great hope that our party workers in every village will constitute their teams at every booth and while they will ensure the BJP’s geographical, social, political and cultural expansion, they will also ensure that our ideology spreads among our supporters in their respective areas. If we succeed on this front, which I am confident that we will achieve, then that day is not far when on the ramparts of the Red Fort, our prime ministerial candidate Shri Lal Krishna Advaniji will address the entire country.

Vande Mataram

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