Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP senior leader LK Advani during BJP National Executive Meeting, in New Delhi. Express Photo By Amit Mehra
OUTLINING ITS campaign theme for the 2019 general elections, the BJP’s two-day national executive concluded Sunday with a political resolution on ‘New India’ that praised the government’s achievements under Prime Minister Narendra Modi as much as it slammed the Opposition for its lack of “leadership, policy and strategy”.
Much like in 1971, when Indira Gandhi countered the Opposition’s slogan of “Indira Hatao” with “Garibi Hatao”, the BJP’s resolution said the Opposition was running a “Modi roko abhiyan” (Stop Modi campaign) while the government was committed to a “new India”, free of poverty, corruption, casteism, terrorism and communalism, by 2022.
Briefing reporters on the resolution, which was presented by former party chief Rajnath Singh, senior party leader and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said: “Vipaksh ke paas na neta hai, na neeti hai, aur na ran-neeti hai. Isliye vipkash hatash hai (The Opposition lacks leadership, policy and strategy. That’s why the Opposition is in despair).”
Insisting that the Opposition was only “daydreaming” and looking for alternatives, Javadekar said his party will get more votes and seats in 2019 than in past elections. “The Opposition does politics with a negative mindset. The Opposition has only a ‘Modi roko abhiyan’. The public never stands with such a negative mindset,” Javadekar said.
“In their desperation for power, the Opposition parties are resorting to various tactics. They neither have a leader who can match PM Modi in stature nor a programme. Their singular objective is ‘Stop Modi’. They want his vision for New India to be destroyed by any means,” the party’s resolution stated.
Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj after the BJP national executive meet in Delhi Sunday. (Photo: Prem Nath Pandey)
According to the party, it has launched many initiatives under Modi and party chief Amit Shah, and has now 1,500 MLAs and governments in 19 states. “Politically, after four years, the Prime Minister defies conventional political wisdom about incumbency by recording 70% plus popularity ratings. No other Indian leader comes anywhere close to him,” the resolution said.
“Since 2014, we have won elections in 15 states and lost in six. We are in power in 20 Indian states today while the Opposition controls 10; Congress has its governments in three out of them. Sixty per cent of India is ruled by BJP governments besides the central government,” it said.
According to Javadekar, Rajnath, as Union Home Minister, spoke in detail on the issue of internal security while presenting the resolution.
In the resolution, the BJP said internal security has improved in the last four years as compared to the 10-year rule of UPA. “Terror blasts had occurred almost every month and in almost all cities in the country in the UPA’s rule. No blast occurs now. There is no major terror activity. Terrorism has decreased in Kashmir,” Javadekar said. The number of Naxalism-affected districts has decreased and Naxalism is nearing its an end, he said.
“We have had a record four years of riot-free India. Maoism, once a threat in about 160 districts in the country, is today contained to just 20 districts. Soon, we are going to have a Maoist insurgency-free India. Urban Maoism too is being curbed with an iron hand,” the resolution said.
“The North East remained largely peaceful, with six out of eight states electing BJP/NEDA governments. An accord with underground Naga groups is on the cards paving way for lasting peace in the region,” it read.
On the fiscal front, the resolution said India’s economy was growing rapidly and that fiscal discipline has been maintained. Javadekar said these positive changes were due to the Prime Minister’s vision, government policy and execution.
The resolution called Goods and Services Tax (GST) a major tax reform and a unique example of cooperative federalism. The BJP said the Act and rules of the GST were formed and rates decided with consensus among all states.
“Four years ago, we inherited a crumbling, corrupt and crony capitalist economy. We had the challenge to turn it around. The Prime Minister undertook the task of setting its basics right. It called for some harsh action, the kind that the Austrian-American economist Joseph Schumpeter called ‘creative destruction’. Schumpeter described it as the ‘process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionises the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one’,” the resolution said.
“Demonetisation, GST, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), etc., are such measures that set India’s economic basics right while bringing economic discipline and rule of law in the governance,” it said.
Responding to a question on the price rise, Javadekar said inflation rates in the last four years remained less that five per cent while it was above 10 per cent under the UPA rule.
Javadekar said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was mentioned in the resolution with leaders from Assam expressing their views during discussions. In the resolution, the BJP said the NRC was not against any citizen of India and that identification of infiltrators was not wrong.
However, Javadekar said there was no discussion over the SC/ST Act or the Ram temple, both of which are likely to emerge as key election points. “The government takes every decision keeping in mind the entire society,” Javadekar said.
Referring to the government’s crackdown on fugitive businessmen such as Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi, the resolution said: “The corrupt today have to run, to use the metaphor, from pillar to post, ‘from Hong Kong to London’. They may remain fugitives for some time, but they have to return to join their comrades in Ranchi jail.”
with the Express Morning Briefing