Mumbai(PTI): Predicting that UPA’s “days are numbered”, BJP President Nitin Gadkari today reached out to regional parties to broaden the NDA and began setting its house in order by appealing for unity and discipline in the organisation in the wake of strains with Narendra Modi.
Beginning the preparations for the next Lok Sabha elections, “irrespective of whether they are held in 2014 or earlier,” Gadkari told the National Executive meeting that “our approach to regional parties is very clear. We believe that they also have a national perspective.”
Noting that many of them are valued partners of the BJP in the NDA, he said the lesson of the NDA rule has shown that a stable government is possible only if the ruling coalition has a national and nationalist party like BJP as its “strong anchor”.
“We should educate people about the risk of instability at the Centre,” he said.
Without referring to any party leader, he said “I propose a simple, but sure formula of success. Let us strengthen unity, discipline and dedication at all levels.
His remarks came close on the heels of his burying the hatchet with Gujarat chief minister Modi by securing resignation of Sanjay Joshi as special invitee to the National Executive. Joshi is the bete noire of the Gujarat CM, who landed in Mumbai soon afterwards to attend the party conclave.
Gadkari said, “Your days are numbered. People of India cannot afford to have any more of your misrule. And they have made up their mind to throw you out lock, stock and barrel.
“It’s time for the BJP-led NDA to come back, clear the mess you have created, and take the nation on the path to progress,” he said adding this should be the message from Mumbai.
Another highlight of the Mumbai conclave was the NDA deciding to organise a day-long protest, including a country-wide bandh on May 31, against petrol price hike.
The announcement was made by NDA acting Chairman L K Advani after consulting NDA allies.
“Congress has created problems. BJP will provide solutions,” was the refrain of the BJP chief, who said “the root cause of India’s problems is not the Eurozone, but it is the UPA-zone.”
Seeking to bring regional parties like Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK on board, he said another indicator of the UPA government’s misrule is the “unprecedented deterioration” in Centre-State relations.
“Several non-Congress Chief Ministers have complained that arrogance of Congress leadership at the Centre has reduced state governments to the level of municipal bodies. This is totally unacceptable to the BJP,” he said.
The executive also adopted a resolution on agriculture against the backdrop of drought situation in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh which was proposed by former party chief Rajnath Singh and seconded by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his Karnataka counterpart Sadanand Gowda.
Through another resolution, the BJP seeks to amend its constitution which will pave the way for Gadkari to get a fresh three-year term as party chief from December when his present tenure ends.
Turning to coming assembly elections in BJP-ruled states of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Gadkari said the party’s immediate task is to get ready to successfully face the electoral battle.
He said the two governments have earned several laurels for setting new records of good governance.
“Gujarat, in particular, has captured the imagination of the rest of India and the world because of its rapid and all-round development,” he said.
Referring to BJP’s poor show in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, he said even though the party’s tally was not on expected lines, it still has a very large base and there are potential supporters as well.
“They will surely shift their allegiance to the BJP in the next parliamentary elections if we make necessary efforts to win them back. Our Party also needs to promote youth at all levels. We have already begun this process,” he said.
Seeking to increase BJP’s vote base by “at least 10 per cent”, Gadkari said the party should learn from the “Goa experience” where minorities voted considerably in its favour.
He utilised the occasion to tell the minorities not to keep falling prey to the self-serving propaganda of Congress and the Communists tarring BJP as anti-minorities.
“You have nothing to fear when a BJP-led alliance forms the next government. We shall care for your security, your development and your welfare. We are committed to ensuring economic and social justice for all Indians, irrespective of their religion, caste, creed, language or gender.”
Blaming UPA’s “misrule” for the “difficult phase” the country was passing through, Gadkari said people have high hopes and expectations from the BJP.
“If we rise to their expectations, they will surely give us a mandate to form the next government and an opportunity to serve the nation,” he said.
On the issue of Presidential elections, he said BJP is striving to create a “broad consensus among all non-Congress parties for fielding a worthy candidate who can, besides safeguarding the Constitution, further add luster to the highest office of the Republic.”
He claimed that Congress’ chief criterion for selecting its candidate to occupy Rashtrapati Bhavan appears to be “loyalty to the dynasty, and not loyalty to the Constitution.”
“Just as it has devalued other democratic institutions, it also seeks to devalue the office of Rashtrapati. It must not be allowed to succeed this time,” he said.