Signalling his party’s increasingly hardening stand on nationalism and Hindutva in the wake of the JNU row, BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday said “attempts are being made to term anti-national slogans as freedom of speech”.
He said “if we have to elevate Bharat Mata to the status of Vishwa Guru… it is important that the country has a BJP government for 25 years.”
Addressing the national convention of the party youth wing, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), in Vrindavan, Shah praised Narendra Modi, saying even after becoming the Prime Minister “he proudly applies tilak and takes a dip in the Ganga”.
“This is the PM of the BJP who unhesitatingly visits Pashupatinath (temple in Kathmandu).”
He attacked Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for supporting “anti-national” slogans in JNU and asked Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to clarify her stand on the issue.
“Is desh mein ek ajeeb prakaar ka mahaul ban gaya hai. Desh mein ek ajeeb prakaar ki bahas chhidi hai. Attempts are being made to term anti-national slogans as freedom of speech. In some university in the capital of this country, slogans like ‘Bharat tere tukde honge, Insha’Allah, Insha’Allah, Afzal hum sharminda hain, tere katil zinda hain, Bharat teri barbadi tak jang jaari rahegi’ are raised,” he said.
“The Congress party must feel ashamed. The vice president of the Congress party goes there and says: Inko sunna chahiye, inko bolne dena chahiye. They have freedom of expression,” Shah said, and asked the crowd: “Is it freedom of expression? If such slogans constitute freedom of expression, then what is sedition? Rahul Gandhiji, you do not know that the youth of this country is ready to sacrifice his life for one inch of land of this country.”
“It’s a matter of shame that so many years after Independence, we still have to explain what is patriotism and what is sedition. If the Congress vice president considers these slogans as freedom of expression, then the Congress president must clarify whether she agrees with it or not,” he said, urging BJYM members to engage Congressmen across the country and ask them what such slogans mean.
Underlining his party’s Hindutva credentials, he said the BJP follows the ideology of the Jan Sangh: “This ideology has emerged from the soil of this country, which takes inspiration from the culture of this country, which considers eminent personalities of this country as ideals.”
He counted the “movement for the liberation of the Ram Janmabhoomi”, “movement against Emergency”, “liberation of Hyderabad and Goa” as the achievements of the BJP and Jan Sangh.
He urged cadres to ensure the party remains in power for 25 years: “The BJP government can curb inflation in five years, can secure borders, achieve maximum growth in the world, can record maximum agriculture growth, can eradicate poverty, but if we have to elevate Bharat Mata to the status of Vishwa Guru, elevate to the highest status in the world, then a government of five years will not do. It is important that the country has a BJP government for 25 years.”
Critical of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Shah addressed him as “Mauni Baba”.
He said before the BJP came to power, “there was a government that ran for ten years. We had to wait for months to hear anything from the Prime Minister of that government. No one considered the Prime Minister as the Prime Minister. It never seemed clear from where the government was run.”
On Congress mocking Modi for his frequent trips abroad, Shah said: “Check the figures. Narendrabhai has made fewer foreign visits than Manmohan Singhji. But some people would find this (figure) higher because when Manmohan Singhji visited abroad, no one would come to know. Kisi ko malum nahin padta tha kab gaye, kab wapas aa gaye.”
“When Mauni Baba visited foreign lands, he would carry typed papers in English. He would return after reading the typed speech. Sometimes, the papers got exchanged. Thailand ka Malaysia mein padh dete thhe, Malaysia ka Thailand mein (He would read the speech meant for Thailand in Malaysia and that of Malaysia in Thailand).”
But “when Narendrabhai delivers his address to the General Assembly of the United Nations in the national language of this country, the chest of the youth of the country swells with pride,” he said.
Claiming that the Modi government has brought “magical transformation” in the country, he said “even so many years after Independence, development had not reached the poor and villages. The BJP government has taken up that task now.”
Claiming that “the biggest thing this government has done is to secure the boundaries of the country”, Shah said: “No one can today dare to behead our soldier because this is the government of Narendra Modi.”