Surajkund: With allegations flying thick and fast against its own leaders including party president, senior BJP leader LK Advani on Friday made some "plain speaking" saying that its own rank and file should be above board on corruption issues.
He also told the party leadership at all levels that they must speak in one voice and avoid the tendency to speak in multiple voices.
"When we criticise the Congress on corruption and there is even a whiff of corruption in our party there is so much noise. We should expect the same firm treatment to our own people," the BJP veteran said addressing the valedictory session of the National Council meeting here.
Advani`s forthright comments asking the leaders to be above board come at a time when allegations have been made by an RTI activist that attempts have been made BJP President Nitin Gadkari to hush up the irrigation scam in Maharashtra. He has strongly denied the charges and issued a legal notice to activist Anjali Damania seeking an apology from her.
There have also been allegations that Gadkari`s associate and party MP Ajay Sancheti had benefited from coal block allocations in Chhattisgarh and the irrigation scam, which he has denied.
"Our USP (Unique Selling Proportion) has been that we are honest, patriots and disciplined. If there is any shortcoming on these aspects people criticize us.
"The BJP leadership at all levels must speak in one voice. We must ruthlessly put down the tendency to speak in multiple voices," Advani said.
He emphasised that BJP is known as a party committed to probity in politics and governance and there should be no compromise on this issue.
Maintaining that the people were very keen on "over-throwing the corrupt" UPA government which is not likely to complete its full term, Advani said he is doing this "plain-speaking" to his party colleagues to ensure that BJP is not found lacking as a better replacement for the Congress.
While BJP’s fight against corruption in the Congress-led UPA was dented when its own Chief Minister in Karnataka, BS Yeddyurappa was indicted in a graft case by the Lokayukta, there have been other instances of financial wrongdoing by the BJP leaders.
"People’s perception of a party is often much more important than the reality," Advani said here.
He said city corporations were the ones where corruption was noticed even before it became visible in state governments.
"We have to be fully cautious," he said, adding that the anger of the people against the UPA government would turn into support for the BJP only if it can appear as a credible alternative.
"Sections of the media say there is anger against the Congress but BJP may not be upto it to replace them. The perception should be that if BJP is in power anywhere there will be no corruption there. There is a big opportunity now," Advani said.
The veteran leader claimed an "anti-Congress" atmosphere was developing in the country and his party should be ready.
Advani also administered a pledge to his party workers which said that they will strive towards freeing India from the corrupt and bad governance of the Congress and will launch a democratic struggle for it to make the 21st Century a century of India.
The senior leader asked his party to be ready for polls as the Manmohan Singh government is in ICU or some would say on a ventilator.
"I even asked Gadkari that we should think about finalising our list of candidates," he said.
He underlined the need for expanding the BJP-led NDA to improve its prospects of in the general elections.