Presidential Address of Shri Amit Shah
Respected Prime Minister Narendra Bhai Modi ji, respected Advani ji, respected Rajnath Singh ji, galaxy of party leaders on the dais and distinguished delegates, sisters and brothers.
Friends, today is August 9. Exactly 72 years ago, on this day, Mahatma Gandhi had launched the Quit India Movement in Mumbai. Many freedom fighters sacrificed their lives and hundreds others were injured in Lathi-charge in this movement for independence. We salute all the freedom fighters on August Kranti Divas. We firmly believe that preserving India’s freedom in every sense of the term, would be true homage to the martyrs of the freedom movement.
At the very outset, I would like to express my sincere gratitude, from the bottom of my heart, to this august house and the top BJP leadership for posing faith in me and displaying confidence in my abilities. I am indeed grateful to all of you for this great honour.
I commenced my political journey as a booth level worker. It is my proud privilege that all of you have considered me capable for the coveted post of the party’s National President at a relatively younger age with limited experience. There are more than 1200 political parties in India. But there is hardly any party where a worker could be elevated to the highest position of National President. It is undoubtedly a unique distinction of my great party. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a mass movement, ideology is its soul and workers its strength. I accept the responsibility bestowed upon me by the party with all humility and commitment.
I honestly believe that my election as the BJP’s National President is a recognition and felicitation of the institution of the party worker in our system. It will now be my solemn duty to not only maintain the dignity of this prestigious office but also to enhance its prestige. I am absolutely confident that I will continue to get guidance from my seniors, every cooperation from my colleagues and support from the party rank and file in discharging this onerous responsibility to be best of abilities. I pray to the Almighty to give me strength and capacity to live up to the expectations of all of you.
Rajnath Singh ji, during his tenure as National President, played a pivotal role in returning the BJP to power. We appreciate his contribution. I am confident that I will continue to get his, as well as that of all my predecessors’, guidance on regular basis.
VICTORY IN LOK SABHA ELECTIONS
An objective analysis of our unprecedented victory in the recent Lok Sabha elections is that people have established Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the most credible national leader who alone is capable of translating into reality the nation’s mounting aspirations for development. Under his leadership, the party has also successfully lent voice to people’s anger against the misrule of the Congress-led UPA regime. Shri Modi’s dynamic leadership inspired millions of apolitical sections of the society to join the BJP’s dedicated rank and file in his campaign. Thousands of our cadres have been engaged in the last so many party election campaigns with selfless devotion and untiring commitment. Our rank and file has been sincerely managing polling booths from morning till evening in the elections. And there are millions of others who fought for us extending their support to our ideology on Twitter and Facebook. Many unknown cyber-savvy technocrats also lent their support to us. None of them even expected a letter of acknowledgment or a word of thanks from the party. Today if some of us have become ministers, many others MPs and MLAs, it is all because of the unstinted sweat and hard work of these foot soldiers. They are the one’s who contributed in translating into reality our dream of Ab Ki Baar Modi Sarkar. As President of the party, I am grateful to the people of this country for endorsing the leadership of Shri Modi resulting in the NDA’s resounding victory.
Our star campaigner Shri Narendra Modi also emerged as a symbol of good governance. I don’t think there could be a better example of an ideology-inspired party worker reaching the pinnacle of glory treading the long and tedious path of duty and discipline. Not only that, Shri Modi has also succeeded in restoring people’s fast eroding faith in the parliamentary system of government. As the BJP prime ministerial candidate, Shri Modi added unique and innovative dimensions to the electioneering by establishing direct dialogue with the multitude of electorate through relentless whirlwind campaigning and visiting the entire length and breadth of the country. I would like to make a special mention of the fact that Shri Modi, after he was anointed the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, addressed 437 election rallies, participated in 5827 campaigns to establish direct contact with the masses and covered three lakh kilometers in 25 states and union territories. I am sure, our high-voltage campaign in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls with Shri Narendra Modi in the vanguard will be remembered as historic in the annals of the Indian electoral system. Credit for this extra-ordinary victory must go to the hard work put in by the dedicated band of our party workers across the country under the leadership of Shri Modi ji and Shri Rajnath Singh ji. The good governance of our highly successful governments in all the BJP-ruled states, also significantly contributed to this campaign.
ELECTORAL VERDICT ANALYSED
Sisters and brothers, we need to undertake an in-depth analysis of the Lok Sabha election results and review the outcome from the point of view of their impact on the national political scene. The BJP polled 31% votes in these elections which is the highest poll percentage by any non-Congress party in India’s electoral history. We have established new electoral benchmarks creating history by winning all the Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Goa and the union territories of Dadra Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Chandigarh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Our party has made impressive gains in most states. Our performance is highly commendable by any reckoning in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. So far as far as the vote percentage is concerned, we have crossed the 50% mark in Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Our poll average is more than 40% in Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Karnataka, UP and Jharkhand whereas our vote accretion is more than 20% in UP, Assam and Rajasthan. Today we have presence in the Lok Sabha practically from all over the country.
The mandate was so decisive in our favour that it reduced the Congress tally below the required mark to become a recognized opposition party in the Lok Sabha. It is noteworthy that the 130 year old Congress Party failed to open its account in 14 states and 7 union territories.
Friends, the BJP has expanded its base among the youth, women, SCs, STs and backward communities as well. Our historic victory marks the beginning of the end of the Congress era. Our taking over the reins of power at the centre is of great historic significance. We must realize that it is a stupendous achievement by any standard. A leader of the post-independence generation, has established himself as the harbinger of the golden era of good governance in the political history of independent India. We entered the election fray with the Mantra of Sabka Saath – Sabka Ka Vikas and emerged victorious. There were neither hollow promises nor populist and emotive appeals. Our slogan was a simple commitment to the people, that convinced them and they registered their complete faith in the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi ji.
The verdict of this election is a clear rejection of the politics of dynasty, appeasement and vote bank. It also is an undisputed triumph of the hope and aspirations of the people of India. Let us not forget that the BJP is the only non-Congress party to have come to power at the centre with an absolute majority of its own.
Friends, it is in this backdrop that I am taking the reins of leadership of the party. Let all of us be reminded that to achieve power is just one part of our larger objective. A prosperous India and a cohesive society is our ultimate goal. It is our firm belief that political power is just a path to achieve our ultimate goal. Translating the concept of Antyodaya as propounded by Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay and others into reality is our final destination.
Our party has a rich tradition of grass root work. Many of us have seen the pictures where a leader no less than Atal ji serving food to the delegates at party conventions. For decades, it was Advani ji who used undertake the thankless job of documentation of party papers. From Kushbhau Thakare to Nitin Gadkari, all have risen to the top from the grass roots. The rise of Shri Narendra Modi to the highest position in our democracy, beginning as a grass root organiser and belonging to an economically backward family, is also in keeping with this tradition. We must be proud of the fact that in our party, family background has never been a consideration for leadership. It is because of this, I believe that for Good Governance, a healthy and well knit party organisation with a team of able and self motivated cadre is a must. With attainment of power, the responsibility of the party organisation has increased many folds and we have to shoulder this with all our abilities.
IDEOLOGY OUR FOUNDATION
Sisters and brothers, this is an occasion to look into the glorious past of our party. Any organisation that forgets its past can never build its future. How can we forget that it was ideology that shaped the events in 1951 when the Jana Sangh was founded, or in 1980 when the emergence of the BJP marked our rebirth? Our very existence is for our ideology. We must remember that Nationalism is our inspiration and Antyodaya our ultimate goal.
Our journey from the foundation of the Jana Sangh till date had three distinct segments. From 1951 to 1980, we braved political opposition. Thereafter, we had a decade of growing acceptance. Post 1990, we were recognised as a political force, and now after 2014, the era of political impact has dawned. This journey was far from easy. The sacrifice of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia, Kushabhau Thakare, Sundar Singh Bhandari, Nanaji Deshmukh, Jaganath Rao Joshi, Mahavir Tyagi as also Atal ji and Advani ji among others, has greatly contributed in this journey. It is because of the untiring efforts of these towering persons that we have reached where we are today. Now that we are in power, we have to dexterously run the government and also conduct our party. Even the slightest failure of ours on either of these fronts will automatically impact the other. We must understand the importance of the mutuality of political power and organisational prowess. We have to strive to give the best performance on both the fronts.
Friends, for any ideological movement, simply attaining power is not enough. In our country, for almost six decades, society was influenced essentially on the basis of the Congress ideology. Infact, politics was over-shadowed by a Congress culture. Now, it is our duty, that our ideology should positively influence the thinking and work culture of our society.
Let me also point out that it is not for the first time that a new Party President has taken over when the party has assumed power. In December 1967, Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyay had taken over as President of the Jana Sangh. It is worth recalling what he had said at that occasion. And now I quote Deen Dayal ji, “During the half century gone by, the country’s mind has been dominated completely by the Congress and its ideology. Its leaders have been not only the framers of national policy but the arbiters of contemporary life-values as well. After independence, the reins of government also came into their hands. The country’s transition into the new era, therefore, is not being smooth. It is accompanied by severe strains and struggles. It is against this background that we must analyze present problems and draw up our policy.”
Similarly, in 1998, immediately after the installation of the Vajpayee Governement, Shri Kushabhau Thakare had addressed the National Council Meeting in Gandhinagar. What Thakare ji had said is relevant even today. He had said, “Our main effort should be two pronged: first, provide the Government with direction and perspective; and second, serve as a bridge connecting the Government with the masses.” He had further said, “More importantly in the new circumstances, members of the party organisation must be dedicated and scrupulously honest; their integrity must be above reproach. Lastly, the organisation should not become a part of the establishment.”
ACHIEVEMENTS OF MODI GOVERNMENT
My fellow delegates, let us understand the distinctive message in the massive popular mandate that we have achieved in these Lok Sabha elections. This mandate is not merely to replace one ruling party with another. It is a mandate for an all round transformation. People were desperate to bring about a genuine change and a new approach in every aspect of governance.
It is a matter of pride for all of us that our government under Prime Minister Modi from day one itself has embarked upon a new model of governance keeping in mind the aspirations of the people. A series of result-oriented measures have already been initiated by all the ministries with a view of ushering in an era of a work culture based on dedication, commitment and hard work.
We strongly believe that development cannot be perceived as a programme of the government; instead it has to be a mass movement of peoples’ aspirations. The Modi government’s respect for the federal structure of our polity is creating goodwill among the states and they have faith that all state governments will get a fair treatment from the centre. It is just 75 days in power and our government has already established a balanced approach in economic and foreign policies in tune with the emerging scenario. We do favour co-ordination with global institutions in international financial management. But not at the cost of India’s national interests. And that is a key element of our foreign policy as well. Terrorism is no longer confined to geographical boundaries of any particular region. Events in Iraq can have reverberations in India as well. Our overall approach in matters of economic and foreign policies will be based on an objective assessment of the emerging global and regional scenarios and without compromising our national interests.
Sisters and brothers, we have completed just 75 days and in this brief span of time our government has recorded impressive achievements under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Modi. I would like to mention only some of them:
We have launched many fresh policy initiatives on several fronts including those in matters of external affairs, economic management, agriculture sector and infrastructural development.
Good governance has commenced with the cabinet meetings itself.
The “My Gov” portal has ensured wide-spread and meaningful participation of the people in governance
Special efforts for a proper coordination among different ministries to expedite decisions making process.
The Modi government Budget has laid the foundation of fresh initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and employment generation.
Effective measures to restore investors’ confidence in the Indian economy.
Initiated a series of short term and long term measures to check price-rise.
Provided new impetus to government policies on several matters including internal security and disaster management.
Adequate measures have been taken to check red-tape in several ministries including the ministries of Highways, Shipping, Environment, Communication and Commerce.
Special emphasis on transparency in governance with effective use of information technology.
Fresh initiatives to improve bilateral relations with all our neighbours including the SAARC members.
Ensured protection of the interests of farmers and the poor sections of society through our pro-active role in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). We remain committed to our policy of no compromise with our national interests.
We have played a significant role in the setting up of the BRICS Bank.
Sisters and brothers, the current global scenario is full of serious challenges. The UPA, during its ten-year regime failed to establish India as an emerging global power at international forums. India, for quite some time, was experiencing some irritants in our relations with our neighbours. We are now trying to improve our bilateral relations with all our neighbours without compromising our security concerns. Our policy of promoting regional cooperation and developing goodwill with our neighbours has helped in convincing the international community about our potential to play a meaningful role in global affairs.
There seems to be no end to the conflict in the middle-east. Tension between Ukraine and Russia is a cause of concern for the international community. Human sufferings - the Malaysian airlines tragedy, causalities in the Middle-East, or any other kind of loss of lives anywhere in the world - are acts against humanity. We do hope that those engaged in avoidable bloodshed will realize the gravity of these unfortunate developments and try to find an amicable resolution of the crisis through dialogue.
FOCUS ON ELECTION MANIFESTO
Friends, we have to understand that the entire emphasis of the Congress-UPA government was on entitlement based policies. They believed in Entitlement first and Empowerment later. In our thinking, Empowerment has to come first and Entitlement would naturally follow. We do believe that people have right to good governance. But more importantly, first and foremost it is the duty of the government to give good governance. Using Rights as a vote catching gimmick is just unacceptable to us. We believe that neither framing of an act nor an agitation by the people is required for them to get their rights. It is our considered opinion that we have to create conditions in such a manner that people automatically get their rights.
Our governance, our policies and our decisions are inspired by our ideology. The Prime Minister’s invitation to the SAARC leaders on the oath taking ceremony, steps taken towards greater job creation, the proclamation of creating one hundred smart cities in view of the growing urbanization, all reflect our thinking about integrated development. I earnestly appeal to all our brothers and sisters in the government to bear in mind the commitments made by us in our manifesto. I would suggest that they come out with a time bound plan for the implementation of the promises made and they should communicate the same regularly to the party cadre. This is possible if various morchas and cells of the party regularly coordinate with the respective ministries.
Friends, we have to remind the nation about the irresponsible manner in which the UPA government was functioning. Their regime has inflicted great loss to our national life. For reasons, one can easily imagine, they had put obstacles in the progress of several infrastructural projects, and now we have removed them.
In this backdrop it is important to note that in just about 75 days, the PM has restored confidence in governance. The realization that somebody who cares for us is now sitting in Delhi has not only reassured the people but also inspired them. During the Vajpayee government, the nation had experienced a climate of aspiration, only to be destroyed by UPA later. We have to recreate that climate. We are confident that 21st century is the Century of India.
All our challenges are yet to be overcome despite the numerous activities that we are undertaking on continuous basis. This year, on account of the late onset of the monsoon, in some parts of the country our farmers are worried. Appropriate agricultural prices for our farm produce, enabling farmers to become economically viable and self reliant against natural disasters and also creating alternative avenues of employment in addition to agriculture in our rural areas, continue to be challenges for our rural economy.
We are aware that our government is preparing an extensive roadmap and campaign for cleaning the Ganga. All of us, as party workers, should actively join this national campaign and simultaneously motivate every citizen of the country to become a part of this national mission.
CHALLENGES OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
My fellow Karyakartas, brothers and sisters, we now have to establish fresh mile-stones of victory in the forthcoming assembly elections on the strength of our remarkable success in the recent Lok Sabha polls. Assembly elections are due in Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra and we have to accept the challenge of forming our government in all these states, yes I repeat, in all these states. While our top leadership will ensure good governance at the centre, all of us will have to commit ourselves to the most challenging task of winning the assembly elections.
We will win these elections by reaching out to the people on the strength of our well-knit organisational structure and on the commitment of providing good governance in these states.
The BJP will enter the electoral arena with a harmonious balance of a vibrant organisational set-up and our track- record in good governance at the centre and in the BJP-ruled states.
Friends, winning the ensuing assembly elections may be our immediate priority. But our long term objective is to provide good governance to the entire country.
This is the centenary year of Lok Manya Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s release from Mandale jail. Tilak had coined the slogan of Swaraj is my birth right more than a century ago. Let us resolve as workers of the BJP that we will commit ourselves to providing Surajya orgood governance to every Indian citizen.
We will be accomplishing this sacred duty only if we work to establish a BJP or a BJP-led government from J & K to Kerala and from Gujarat to Nagaland.
Therefore, our foremost commitment should be to return BJP to power in the election-bound states of Maharashtra, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand.
Besides, there are eight more states where we need to re-capture power. We must form our governments whenever elections are held in Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Arunanchal Pradesh and Meghalaya. Also, we will have to make special efforts to win elections and form our governments in states like Assam, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Tamilnadu where we have polled significant percentage of votes. To realize this objective, we should make BJP’s effective presence felt in each and every village Panchayat, Zilla Parishad, municipal Corporations and other elected bodies.
This may not be possible only by slogans mongering and putting up hoardings. This may require our total commitment and dedication to the party organisation and to its objectives and by maintaining mutual trust among fellow party workers.
This is exactly what we did in Uttar Pradesh. Our exceptional success in UP was due to our right approach in social engineering, introducing accountability and transparency in organisational management, widening the scope of direct contact with the cross-section of society and winning the confidence of the electorate by consolidating organisational unity. These were the key elements behind our sensational victory in the Lok Sabha polls in UP and we must focus on them in our march ahead to reach out every nook and corner of the country. Let there be no state or union territory where the BJP is not a force to reckon with.
Friends, now that we have achieved a tremendous success in the Lok Sabha elections, our responsibilities have also increased manifold. Some of our opponents are yet to reconcile to their humiliating defeat in the polls and are currently engaged in forging an unholy alliance of non-BJP parties. They are bewildered and not able to come to terms with the realities of the electoral outcome. We must guard against this Machiavellian political tactics and frustrate their designs.
We must remember that the dawn of the Modi government is heralded the end of the climate of cynicism across the country. The decisive verdict in our favour is not only to usher in good governance but also to establish clean politics. People are fed up with the Congress culture. We will have to evolve a new culture of qualitative democratic polity based on active participation of the masses.
In this context, Prime Minister Shri Modi has been promoting the concept of Team India. We need to get this message across to the people. We will have to keep in mind that our crusade on the ideological front is far from over. Our organisational functioning must reflect our ideology. We are a cadre-based mass party. Today we are in government. We have emerged as the preferred choice of all well meaning citizens of the country and we must consolidate this relationship.
I appeal to all our party karyakartas that we should -
Strive to strengthen and consolidate our booth management across the country.
Focus on all every forthcoming election from Panchayat to Parliament and win them with full commitment and hard work.
Expand our base in states along the eastern coast from West Bengal to Tamil Nadu and also Kerala and convert our votes into seats; and,
Function as a bridge between the government and the people.
My fellow delegate brothers and sisters, this will be possible only if our elected representatives at all levels, along with party organisation, continue to maintain Cohesion (Sauhardaya), Communication (Samvad), and Coordination (Samanvaya). These three elements (Cs/Ss) are the corner stone of our thinking.
We need to pledge ourselves to carry forward these principles when we return back to our respective states from this National Council meeting. This is my humble appeal.
Friends, in the year ahead, we will be celebrating the silver jubilee of Integral Humanism. Year 2015 marks the centenary year of our ideologue Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. This provides us with an opportunity to once again enlighten the masses about our principles and policies. The twin-celebrations will also be an occasion for all of us to further dedicate ourselves to Integral Humanism and reach out to the people propagating the basic tenets of Deendayal Ji’s philosophy in all its manifestations.
I believe that the ideals of Integral Humanism are not restricted by time. This is an invaluable treasure of ideas. This philosophy can enable us to find solutions to each and every one of our contemporary problems. The government, of course, will function in the light of these principles. But that may not be enough. We all must re-dedicate ourselves to these ideals and strive to promote and expand the BJP on the basis of the principles of Deendayal ji’s philosophy of Antyodaya.
Good governance can be delivered only by ideology-inspired leadership. As we all know, ideological commitment has gone a long way in making our Prime Minister and all our Chief Ministers enviable icons of good governance. Let us resolve to march ahead as torch -bearers of our ideology.
Friends, our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, during the Lok Sabha election campaign, had given a clarion call of Congress Mukt Bharat. What he meant was freeing India from corruption and bad governance. But a Congress-free India can become a reality only if we ensure the BJP’s victory in every part of the country. I call upon party functionaries at every level to rededicate themselves to this ambitious task with full vigour and commitment.
As I conclude, I would like to leave you with the inspiring words of Param Pujyaniya Shri Guru ji that if we work together with all our strength, “vijay hi vijay hai”.
BHARAT MATA KI JAI