After a long gap, the BJP managed to amass its cadres for a show of strength in the Capital that impressed former PM AB Vajpayee to hope for a change in the national political scene.
The issue that was sought to be raised on the opening day of Parliament’s winter session was the threat to the internal security in the wake of "increasing" terrorist activity in the country and move for clemency for Parliament attack convict Mohammed Afzal.
Addressing the enthusiastic BJP workers, Vajpayee warned the UPA that its days are numbered if it did not change its soft approach on handling terrorism.
He said the BJP rally marked beginning of such a change. "This rally is a new beginning, uniting all people for a change."
Vajpayee accused the UPA of being confused about tackling terrorism. "Terrorism is the biggest threat, but the government is confused about how to tackle it. ... What is the government's policy on terror?" he asked.
Vajpayee said the country was yet to fulfill its duty towards those who died fighting terrorists in the December 13, 2001 strike in Parliament House.
Alluding to the resumption of dialogue with Pakistan, Vajpayee maintained that talks at this juncture were futile. "They (terrorists) are challenging us, but the government is finding ways to talk. We are not against talks, but what is their use? The government is not sure about its own moves."
He said, "The ministers in this government speak in different voices on such crucial issues indicating confusion in the government ranks. If this government is not going to change its ways, people will change this government."
"We are going to ask the UPA government in Parliament why there is a delay in disposing of Afzal's clemency petition. In case of clemency petitions, the Cabinet has to take a final decision. Why the cabinet is not taking any decision?," Vajpayee asked.
Earlier in the day, leader of Opposition Advani and BJP chief Rajnath Singh led two separate processions of BJP workers from Rajghat and Birla Mandir respectively, culminating at Jantar Mantar near Parliament. The dais on which Advani was supposed to address the crowd collapsed.
Advani said both PM Manmohan Singh and Congress “should clear their stand of Afzal's hanging. It's a question of justice to the security personnel... It (clemency to Afzal) will amount to disrespect to our security forces."
Addressing the gathering, BJP president Rajnath Singh, who led a separate march from Birla temple, voiced disappointment over the delay in Afzal's execution as ordered by the court.
"We have seen increasing terrorist strikes in various parts of the country. But the government is doing nothing. This government is weakening the country."
Referring to the Sachar committee report, the BJP president also warned the government against religion-based reservation. BJP leaders MM Joshi, Jaswant Singh, Sushma Swaraj, VK Malhotra also addressed the rally. A resolution condemning the government's "silence" on Afzal's hanging was also passed in the rally.