Indore: Raking up the party's pet issue, BJP President Nitin Gadkari on Thursday of its commitment to building a "grand" Ram temple in Ayodhya and appealed to the Muslims to "offer a perfect solution" by being generous towards the sentiments of Hindus.
"The BJP stands fully committed for the construction of a grand Ram temple at Ayodhya...Litigation is also pending for resolution of this dispute which may not offer a perfect solution because one party would lose and the other may win.
"Today I appeal to the Muslim community to be generous towards the sentiments and feelings of Hindus and facilitate the construction of a grand Ram temple," he said in his
Presidential Address at the two-day National Council of the BJP here.
Gadkari insisted that if Muslim community made the gesture of building a consensus, it would "herald a new amity and reinforce the bond for a resurgent India".
This is an indication that with the elevation of RSS candidate Gadkari, 52, to the BJP's top post, Hindutva and other contentious issues which form the core of the Sangh
Parivar ideology may find greater emphasis in its bid to revive after two successive electoral defeats.
Gadkari also mentioned the "big national movement" for the Ram temple that had taken place earlier in which many karsewaks lost their lives.
’No minority appeasement please’
Gadkari was scathing in his criticism of the Government
on its alleged attempts at minority appeasement. He, however,
said it was wrong to say that BJP was against Muslims. If it
was so, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani would not have
made A P J Abdul Kalam the nation's President.
Apparently referring to AICC General Secretary Digvijay
Singh's visit to Azamgarh, he said that "some Congress leaders
have converted suspected dens of terrorists as places of
political pilgrimage. Repeated visits of politicians to those
areas have emboldened the enemies of the nation".
’Prepare for the future’
Preparing his party for a long haul, Gadkari spoke of
plans to raise the party's vote share by 10 per cent and
appealed to partymen to reach out to the under-privileged
sections, such as the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and
minorities in a "big way".
"People are waiting for political workers who would
respond to their agonies and aspirations. They are keen to
join us provided we connect with them.
"Remember, we just cannot afford to fail. Let us make a
collective resolve to increase our vote share at least by 10
per cent by breaking new grounds and taking new initiatives.",
Gadkari also sought to bring a new work culture in the
organisation by telling partymen to desist from sycophancy,
assuring them that performance will be rewarded and sending a
clear signal that the leadership will have "zero tolerance to
'There is no dynasty in BJP'
In an obvious reference to Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Nitin Gadkari said that his party did not believe in dynastic politics.
In his first presidential address at the BJP leadership meet here, he thundered that neither his father nor grandparents were prime ministers.
"I was a simple worker of a party and today I am its president. This can happen only in the BJP. The BJP is not like other political parties where dynasty rules," Gadkari said.
"My father was not the prime minister of the country, neither were my maternal great grandfather nor grandmother. We are a party with a difference," he added.
Gadkari's remarks were clearly aimed at Rahul Gandhi, whose father Rajiv Gandhi, grandmother Indira Gandhi and great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru were all prime ministers.
Before his speech, the national council ratified the presidentship of Gadkari. Senior leaders hailed his ascendance and garlanded him. Gadkari was named the BJP president in December. He took charge this month.
Rajnath apologizes for mistakes
BJP’s outgoing president Rajnath Singh apologized for his mistakes that he said might have displeased party colleagues.
Addressing the national council of the party here, Rajnath Singh said: "During my presidency I might have committed some mistakes. I apologize to all those who got disheartened."
In his address, Rajnath Singh also pointed out that when he headed the party, the BJP won elections in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh and took power for the first time in Karnataka. "We broke the myth that BJP is only a Hindi heartland party."
"(But) I still have pain in my heart that during my tenure, we could not make our senior leader LK Advani the prime minister. It was my dream but we could not fulfill it."
First Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010, 21:48