Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to break his silence on the government’s response to the terror attack on an army base in Jammu and Kashmir when he speaks at a public rally in the Kerala town on Saturday.
BJP sources said the PM is expected to deliver a strong message to Pakistan and also to separatist elements in Kashmir Valley during his speech on Calicut beach, resplendent in saffron hues on Friday with fluttering BJP flags along the coastline and deep into the Arabian Sea waters.
Immediately after the Uri attack, the PM had in a tweet vowed not to let the perpetrators go “unpunished”. Many other ministers and BJP functionaries talked tough, with home minister Rajnath Singh terming Pakistan a “terrorist state”.
But the government has refrained from directly blaming Pakistan for Sunday’s attack, even as there is growing clamour in the country for giving a befitting response.
In his address to party office-bearers in Kozhikode on Friday, BJP president Amit Shah said the party’s ideology brought it to power and it’s time to “walk the talk” on promises it made while in opposition.
His remark was interpreted in party circles as an indirect reference to the BJP’s aggressive posturing against Pakistan, accusing then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of being “weak” in responding to terror attacks during the UPA regime. At the same time, Shah cautioned the party office-bearers that as the ruling party, the BJP has to “behave responsibly”.
Modi’s address will set the tone for the party’s resolution to be adopted by its national council, the apex decision-making body, the next day. Shah is also expected to follow suit with aggressive rhetoric against Pakistan when he opens the party session on Sunday.
In an indication of the things to come in the next two days, the party fielded general secretary Ram Madhav- whose jaw-for-a-tooth demand following the Uri attack pleased many a hardliner -- to brief the media on Friday.
“We appreciate and understand the sentiments of the country. So many things have happened in the past three days, especially diplomatically,” he said in response to a query about the NDA government’s plans on post-Uri attack that has drawn public outrage.
He refused to field further questions about the terror attack saying, “Prateeksha mein anand hai (there is pleasure in waiting).”
His evasive approach to questions about the Uri attack was a strategy not to pre-empt the PM and the party’s council on Pakistan.
He was at pains to explain that while the party would discuss all contemporary issues (suggesting terror attack and unrest in Kashmir), the BJP’s main focus was on the poor and the downtrodden.
Opposition parties have been accusing the BJP and the NDA government of being anti-poor and anti-Dalit, citing the suicide by Hyderabad university Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula last year and beating of Dalit youths at Una in Gujarat early this year.
Dalits constitute one-third of the electorate in Punjab and one-fifth in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand -- the three states that go to polls, along with Goa and Manipur--in February-March next year.
This year will be dedicated to the welfare of the downtrodden, said Ram Madhav.
“The political resolution will majorly focus on our efforts towards the welfare of the downtrodden section of the society,” he said, adding that it will set a “new trend” for all political parties as the BJP council meeting will be dedicated entirely to constructive programmes for the poor.