Ahead of Assembly elections in five states, the BJP on Sunday used the birthday of its "tallest leader" and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to project itself as a party of the masses, reminding people of good governance during the NDA regime.
"Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a statesman of international stature. The country made progress under his able guidance," BJP president Nitin Gadkari said at a rally here, claiming that the BJP-led NDA government had been free from any corruption or scandal.
Vajpayee's birthday was on Sunday celebrated by the party as 'Good Governance Day', which was attended by several leaders and party workers.
Gadkari claimed that Vajpayee was the only prime minister who was in favour of keeping the top post under the ambit of Lokpal. "Vajpayee was the only Prime Minister who said the PM should be under Lokpal, when he was holding the post."
While pointing out how the UPA has botched up the Telangana issue, the BJP chief said three news states were carved out with ease during the NDA regime.
Gadkari also hailed the former prime minister for undertaking steps for improving the conditions of roads and electricity in villages besides welfare schemes for farmers.
Calling Vajpayee the "tallest political leader, best Parliamentarian and best Prime Minister" in the country, BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu pointed out the former's skill of handling a coalition of 23 parties, while he said Manmohan Singh seemingly has a problem with a coalition of three parties.
He also sought to take credit for the telecom revolution in the country, saying the BJP-led NDA government was responsible for making accessible mobile phone to practically every citizen.
Blaming the UPA government for the weakening rupee, Naidu said that during the NDA regime, the rupee was strong at Rs 34-36 against the US dollar.
He accused the government of being insensitive to the common man's problems due to inflation. "The people are weeping, the government is sleeping," he said.
Naidu and BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra demanded that the veteran leader should be conferred Bharat Ratna.
"Why is the government delaying in giving Bharat Ratna to him? He should be given the award," said Naidu.
On Lokpal issue, senior leader Rajnath Singh said corruption cannot be removed just with one institution. "One institution cannot wipe out corruption. A strong leader at the top, like Vajpayee is required to root out corruption," he said.
Vajpayee understood the ground realities of India, and kept inflation under control even during war, he said.