Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called on party workers to lay thrust on the agenda of development and asked them to not to be diverted by the non-issues as the two-day BJP national executive meeting drew up a roadmap to reach out to Dalits as well as rural and farm communities.
“We need to focus on our own agenda. Let’s not get trapped by opposition. Vikas, vikas, vikas (Development) is my only focus and it is our country’s solution to all problems,” Prime Minister Modi told the party meeting.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh told reporters later that Prime Minister in his address said, “It will be an endeavour of our (BJP’s) rivals that we get embroiled in all kinds of unnecessary controversies and our government’s developmental works are not discussed among people.”
The two-day BJP national executive meeting concluded here on Sunday with the ruling party adopting a resolution in which it said “nationalism, national unity and integrity are an article of faith with the BJP”.
Amid debate about slogans like “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, the party accused a “very microscopic minority” of “indulging in a kind of demagogy that goes against the very essence of our constitution”.
“Talking of destruction of Bharat cannot be supported in the name of freedom of expression,” it said.
“Our constitution describes India as Bharat also and refusal to chant victory to Bharat is tantamount to disrespect to our constitution itself. ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ is not merely a slogan. It was a mantra of inspiration to countless freedom fighters during the independence struggle. It is the heartbeat of a billion people today. It is reiteration of our constitutional obligation as citizens to uphold its primacy. The BJP wishes to make it clear that it will firmly oppose any attempt to disrespect Bharat and weaken its unity and integrity,” the party said.
In an attempt to reach out to Dalits, Rajnath Singh announced that it was decided prime minister will visit Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, the birthplace of the Constitution’s architect Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar on his birth anniversary on April 14.
He said the party has chalked out various future programmes and will reach out to every section of the marginalised society.
“From April 14 to 16, our leaders and party cadres will hold social harmony programmes at panchayat level. During the period, they will convey the messages of Dr. Ambedkar to the people and will reward the talented students of that panchayat,” he said.
Rajnath said Modi will also visit Jamshedpur in Jharkhand on April 24, where he will address a conference of representatives of panchayats.
BJP president Amit Shah announced in Sunday’s session that for 10 days from April 14, the party will have programmes under the aegis of Gram Uday to Bharat Uday, Singh said.
From April 17 to April 20, there will be Kisan Sabhas in all villages. “The prime minister is committed to double farm income by 2022. We will enlist the opinion of farmers on this,” he said.
Talking to reporters separately, Rajnath Singh and Jaitley said that while the party was open to scrutiny and criticism, it “will not tolerate anti-nationalism”.
“We expect political opposition as a normal course but at any cost we cannot tolerate any anti-national thought process,” Singh said.
Jaitley said the ideology of “nationalism” guides the party’s belief and that chanting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” — the cause of a recent row especially in Maharashtra — was an issue which should not be debated at all.
“We believe this is one issue on which there should be no debate. People in India should have absolutely no difficulty as far as this slogan is concerned and the best example we saw yesterday (Saturday) at Eden Gardens (during the India-Pakistan World Twenty20 match),” Jaitley said.
In Maharashtra, MIM legislator Waris Pathan was suspended on March 16 from the assembly after he refused to say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.
Jaitley also asserted that the party will record a “decisive” victory in Assam and will improve its performance in other states like Kerala and West Bengal.
He mocked the Congress for playing second fiddle to regional parties in many states.
“Look at Bihar, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. I think the Congress has lowered its political ambitions. It is quite content becoming the tail-ender of any alliance,” he said.