BJP struggles to bring National Council meet out of Uri shadow

PTI9_23_2016_000244A BJP National President Amit Shah (left) and party leader Ram Lal at the inauguration of the party's National Council Meeting in Kozhikode, Kerala on Friday | PTI

The BJP appears to be struggling to bring back the focus of its National Council meeting to the main agenda of the conclave, which was to devise a pro-poor plan of action based on the philosophy of party ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, from the questions on the effectiveness of the action being taken by the Narendra Modi government against Pakistan following the Uri terror attack.

It was ironic that party general secretary Ram Madhav, who had struck an aggressive posture after the Uri attack and called for a complete jaw for a tooth, briefed the media today about the agenda of the national council meeting taking place in Kozhikode, sounding much restrained in his responses on Pakistan and trying hard to emphasise the main agenda of the meeting, which is drawing up an action plan on `Garib Kalyan’.

“The focus in the national council will be on Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. But when we meet, other important issues before the nation are bound to be discussed,” he said about the agenda of the three-day meeting that began in Kozhikode today.

In response to queries, he said the party appreciated and understood the sentiments of the people of the country, and decisions on what has to be done will be taken at an appropriate level.

With the Modi government under pressure to take effective action against Pakistan, Madhav said that a lot has happened at the diplomatic front in the last three days. Asked if the party leaders had realised that it was not easy to be aggressive when in power and hence were now restrained, he said, “Do you want only statements or action? Action is taking place and will take place.”

He was evasive in his reply to a question on Russian troops landing in Pakistan for a joint exercise, saying, “We will wait and see. A lot of rumours are going around. Let us see what the real facts are.”

The BJP meeting is taking place under the shadow of the Uri attack and party leaders are aware of the pressure from both the public and party workers to articulate a strong stance against Pakistan. There is tremendous anticipation also about what Modi will say tomorrow on Pakistan in his public rally at the Kozhikode beach.

Addressing the media after BJP President Amit Shah’s meeting with office bearers, state presidents and general secretaries, Madhav said that the national council meeting was being held with the aim to re-dedicate the party to the philosophy of Upadhyaya, which was to work for the welfare of the poor and the downtrodden, to mark his birth centenary.

“For the next one year, we will dedicate ourselves to implement pro-poor programmes. The focus will be on Antyodaya, or welfare of the last person in the queue,” Madhav said. He said there would be one political resolution, which will mainly focus on the efforts being made towards welfare of the downtrodden.

The choice of Kozhikode as the venue of the meeting is guided by the fact that Upadhyaya was elected President of Jan Sangh here. The BJP is also holding the meeting here in the backdrop of its aggressive efforts to gain ground in the state. The alleged atrocities against RSS and BJP workers by cadres of the Left parties will also be taken up for discussion at the meeting. Madhav spoke about the BJP's vote share in the state going up in the previous Assembly election by 15 per cent. He said the BJP was coming up as a strong alternative to the Left in the state.

"So many attacks have taken place on our cadres in the last two months. Instead of accusing the BJP of violence, the Kerala Chief Minister should ensure proper law and order in the state,” he said.

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