Allies on mind,Rajnath steers clear of Hindutva issues

After the RSS’ recent acknowledgement of the BJP’s autonomy in its political decisions,BJP president Rajnath Singh here steered clear of hardcore Hindutva issues....

Written by Suman K Jha | Nagpur | Published: February 7, 2009 3:00:42 am

After the RSS’ recent acknowledgement of the BJP’s autonomy in its political decisions,BJP president Rajnath Singh here steered clear of hardcore Hindutva issues in his inaugural address at the party’s national executive meet here on Friday.

In his speech,Rajnath accused Congress president Sonia Gandhi of “trying to use the bogey of war with Pakistan for political benefits on the eve of general elections”. Surprisingly,the written text of his speech had no mention of this.

While Rajnath in his pronouncements,in the past few weeks,has called for “surgical strikes against terror camps in Pakistan”,the BJP has officially said that “it would support the UPA Government in whatever measures it takes to contain Pak-sponsored terror.” Its prime ministerial candidate L K Advani recently demanded a “Commission of Inquiry to fix the responsibility for the 26/11 lapses”.

Rajnath also said that the UPA must immediately intervene in Sri Lanka. “The plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka is miserable and an immediate intervention from India is needed to halt the killings of Tamil civilians,” he said.

As opposed to his speeches in the last two national executive meets,where he had spoken on Amarnath,Ram Sethu and other Hindutva issues,Rajnath on Friday stuck to a line that would please NDA’s allies. He spoke about the “superior architecture of the NDA”,reminded the Congress of its Pachmarhi declaration (“wherein it had decided to go alone”),and reiterated the claim that the “BJP had grown into the largest party of the country”.

The growing stature of Narendra Modi was evident when he made a pointed interjection and said Rajnath should have “listed the achievements of the BJP”,as well as the fact that the party had scored a “string of victories” after the UPA came into power in 2004. Rajnath,however,said that he had already made those points.

By evening,the mood at the meet had turned sombre after L K Advani informed the delegates that Atal Bihari Vajpayee was not well and that the party was praying for his speedy recovery.

If alliance-building was the flavour of the day,various state delegates interacted with Advani on the progress being made in their respective states. It was decided that the party would follow the 2004 formula while deciding about its seats with allies. General secretary Arun Jaitley moved the political resolution while Yashwant Sinha moved the economic resolution. Both the resolutions branded the UPA Government as a failure on all counts. The two resolutions would be debated and finalised at the party’s national council here on Saturday.

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