August 15, 2009 is when L.K. Advani can address the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, if he becomes the Prime Minister of a NDA dispensation after the Lok Sabha polls. Though that date is 14 months away, senior BJP leaders could not help conjuring up the probability of the event at the two-day conclave of the party.
Led by BJP president Rajnath Singh who was the first leader to mention that possibility in his presidential address, other BJP leaders including newly elected Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa pledged to work towards that goal.
Stating that the BJP is emerging as the natural party all over the country, Rajnath said less than 125 of the 545 Lok Sabha seats were in the states ruled by the Congress and its allies.
Rajnath said even the youth and women could be wooed with the BJP’s spell of nationalism and its commitment to core issues. “The eyes of the nation are set upon the BJP-led NDA. The role of each one of us has become important. The BJP’s duty towards the nation has increased. We will have to be alert about our duties at our respective positions. People are not willing to accept even a minute mistake on our part.”
Rajnath, who appealed to the Gujjars to call off the stir and did not oblige some leaders who wanted to raise the issue in a big way, said, “The sad and unfortunate events in Rajasthan have shocked not only the people of the state but the entire country.”
He painted a bleak picture of the handling of the economy by the Congress-led coalition when rising prices are causing concern. Singh attacked the UPA government at the Centre on issues ranging from price rise to spurt in terrorism and from farmers’ suicides to foreign policy. A resolution on price rise which will come down heavily on the economic policies of the government and one on foreign policy will be adopted on Monday, the last day of the two-day conclave.
Singh cited the spurt in terror attacks in the last four years and reports about stock markets and sensitive nuclear installations coming on the terror radar to reiterate his demand for a POTA-type law.
“Even after being completely exposed within and outside the country, if the government does not feel the need for an anti-terrorism law, then this would not only reflect its immaturity but also raise questions about its honesty,” he said.
The BJP president said the Prime Minister seems to have accepted that terrorism is a national problem and it cannot be dealt with at the state level.