(Part of this report appeared in Mumbai edition of DNA on Sept 29, 2012. The reason the piece is being put up is to show that he did not talk about secularism and minorities which was supposed to be in his written speech and which many people took as a lead point though he did not say them.)
Govt could go in a year's time, says Advani
Exhorts party to gear up for the polls, reminds of ideological roots in RSS
New Delhi: Senior leader L.K.Advani stole the show with his veladictory address to the two-day national council meeting of the BJP in Surajkund on Friday afternoon. He combined anecdote and grand narrative to make the delegates sit up.
He gave the medical analogy and said that if anyone had asked him about the fate of the UPA government a fortnight or more agao, he would have said that it was in the ICU (intensive care unit) and that it was on a ventilator, but that the government will go on till 2014 with the help of CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation). He said “now it seems almost that this government will not go on till 2014. It is possible that it will go in a year's time. Ventilator could be removed.”
That was a way to tell the party that opprotunity is knocking on the door and that they will have to grab it. “We should be thinking of finalising the candidates for the Lok Sabha polls,” he said.
He launched a sharp attack on prime minister Manmohan Singh – his favourite target and Singh reciprocates – saying that the real leader is Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and that 10 Janpath (the residence of Gandhi) is calling the shots over 7 Race Course Road (the prime minister's official residence). He said that when he called Singh the “weakest prime minister” in 2009, people felt that he was being uncharitable and unfair. But what I said has turned to be true between 2009 and 2012, he said.
The prime minister is not a CEO. He has to be a political leader too. “Even Chandra Shekhar, Deve Gowda and I.K.Gujral showed the power of the office of the prime minister though they did not last long. Singh does not show the power of his office. He has transferred the power of his office to 10, Janpath, he said.
He said that there is an anxiety for change among the people and there is also the anger of the people, which the BJP must ride on. To do that the party has to emerge as a credible alternative and it cannot afford to speak in multiple voices. “The party and its leaders must speak in one voice,” Advani advised.
He said that it will not be enough to do as well as the party had done in 1998 and in 1999. “The performance has to be better than that,” he exhorted. He recalled that in 1977 “caste became irrelevant” because the people were angry with the Congress and any candidate who opposed Congress was assured of a win. He said that the Congress scored a zero in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and just a single in Madhya Pradesh. “There is a record of ducks. Congress missed the record,” he quipped.
He said that even as the BJP was stringent in its criticism of the corruption in Congress governments, it has to be as unsparing about its own governments and itself on the issue probity, he said. “The BJP's USP is honesty and discipline,” he told the party.
He rminded that the BJP was not just a political party and that it was a movement derived from the Rahstriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), whose founder Keshav Chandra Hegdewar, drew inspiration from Swami Dayananda Saraswati's Arya Samaj and from Ramaksirhna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda and the Ramakrishna Mission. Advani reminded the party of its ideological roots in right-wing Hindu reformism.