Accusing the Congress of attempting to divert public attention from more serious issues confronting the nation, BJP national president Rajnath Singh on Sunday claimed that the Sonia Gandhi-led party was once again at its old tricks of playing the communal card by bringing to the fore the Ishrat Jahan encounter case so that no one joined the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) fold ahead of the 2014 general election.
"Over 3,000 encounters took place before 2002 and around 800 in the last one year, but the Congress has chosen to focus just on the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, ignoring National Investigating Agency (NIA) claims that she had links with Lashkar-e-Toiba. This is a clear attempt on part of the Congress to divert attention from more serious issues confronting the nation and focus on communalism, with the sole aim that allies leave the NDA and no one joins us," the BJP chief said in his inaugural address at the executive meeting of the Punjab BJP unit here.
Looking for allies ahead of the crucial polls after the Janata Dal (united) led by Sharad Yadav walked out of the NDA, Rajnath chose to remind all political parties that the secular credentials of the BJP could not be questioned. "If there is a party that believes in the principles of secularism and religious tolerance, it is the BJP," he remarked.
He went on to allege that the divisive policies of the Congress were well-known. It played the Hindu-Muslim card very effectively to capture power in the past and this same strategy of divide-and-rule was in play once again, the BJP president claimed while calling upon his party workers to effectively counter the Congress designs and expose its strategy.
Attacks Food Security Bill
Attacking the Centre's action on Food Security Bill, Rajnath termed it the 'Vote Security Bill' or 'Political Security Bill'. He questioned the ordinance issued by the union government and said that there was no emergency for taking this step as the monsoon session of Parliament was round the corner and it could have been introduced and deliberated in the House.
He claimed that the government ordinance was issued in view of the coming Lok Sabha polls. "We will not oppose the Bill in Parliament but debate it and seek amendments as it is an incomplete Bill. The farmers' interests too must be included in this Bill. So issues like food grain production, procurement and distribution must all be part of the Bill," he said, pointing out that farmers must be assured of remunerative prices for their grain.
Attacks UPA on corruption
Pointing to the 'Railgate' and 'Coalgate', the BJP chief said that the UPA had "opened numerous gates of corruption". The dismal economic scenario in the country was basically due to the wrong policies and planning of the central government and due to corruption, he added.
He also took a dig at the inflation rate and reminded his party leaders and workers present that during six-year NDA rule, prices were well under control. Then economists had started talking of India becoming a super economic power by 2020, he claimed.
Message to BJP cadres
His message to the state BJP leaders and workers was loud and clear - Go out and tell the people that the country is safe only in NDA hands.
In the presence of former HP chief minister Shanta Kumar, who is incharge of Punjab BJP affairs, he categorically told his party colleagues that they would have to start working from now for the Lok Sabha polls. "The scales are tilted heavily in our favour. It will be now or never and if we fail, the people will never forgive us", he said, while asking party leaders to introspect.
He also told party rank and file in Punjab to shed egos and work for the success of the BJP. "If any difficulty crops up, they could seek advice from senior leaders, including Shanta Kumar," Rajnath remarked.
JP Nadda, Shyam Jajju, Laxmi Kanta Chawla, cine star Vinod Khanna, Ram Lal, state BJP chief Kamal Sharma and other senior leaders and BJP ministers were present on the occasion.