M A I N   N E W S

Rajnath sells brand Modi
Calls for simultaneous LS, Assembly polls
S.Satyanarayanan and Agencies
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 27
There were no doubts at the national executive meet of the Bharatiya Janata Party here today that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is the emerging face of the party at the national level while the party, emboldened by consecutive victories in four states, projected L.K Advani-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as the country’s only hope and need of the hour and called for a consensus on holding simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

Modi, however, was the most sought after leader at the inaugural session of the meet, which was held in the annexe of the Parliament complex. BJP president Rajnath Singh virtually made up for his mistake of dropping Narendra Modi from the Parliamentary Board a year ago, by praising the Gujarat Chief Minister for the party’s thumping victory in the state and asking other NDA chief ministers to emulate him. Singh made a reference to Modi while reiterating the BJP's aim to fight anti-incumbency in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, which go to the polls this year

“The Congress-led UPA had been an unnatural alliance right from the outset… the people must be definitely finding UPA not only a failed but also a worthless government. Therefore, when the people are rejecting UPA, the BJP-led NDA would be their natural choice,” BJP president Rajnath Singh said while addressing the party’s national executive meeting here.

“When I am talking about the NDA as a ‘natural choice’, I also want to clarify that in view of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections we have declared the ‘natural choice’ of our party and the country, Advaniji as the future Prime Minister of India,” he said adding “I feel elated that the constituents of the NDA have, by endorsing our decision, given a message of unity and collectivity”.

Pointing that repeated involvement in elections has left no time for the national political parties to engage themselves in political-social and constructive works, the BJP chief urged the Election Commission and all political parties to think in terms of having simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

“Some time back elections never used to take place at such short intervals as they are taking place today. Even elections for Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas used to take place simultaneously. The situation has taken such a turn that in every two to four months one or the other state is going in for elections,” he said.

“In the year 2007 elections were held in six states. In February 2008, elections are supposed to be held in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya. Assembly polls are also supposed to take place in Karnataka in April-May. Elections in J&K are scheduled for September. Elections will also take place in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Mizoram in November. After these elections, as soon as the year 2009 starts, preparations for the elections to the 15th Lok Sabha will also start and two months later Maharashtra Assembly will go to the polls,” he pointed out.

“Today system has to be rationalised. I appeal to the Election Commission and the political parties to start thinking in this direction so that a way out is found,” the BJP president said.

Highlighting the plight of farmers, Rajnath Singh said under the UPA regime incidents of suicides not only by farmers had increased manifold, but the farm labourers were also on the same track.

The BJP chief accused the Congress-led UPA government of creating problems for the national unity and integrity by adopting ‘Divide and Rule’ policy, which might be in accordance with their political interests, unleashing an era of “economic inequality” by not meeting the common man’s basic needs and security, going soft on terror, security-related decisions, indulging in vote-bank politics and remaining a mute spectator when farmers and workers were oppressed by the “undemocratic behaviour” of the Leftists in states ruled by them.

Rajnath Singh also accused the UPA government of working in an authoritarian manner. He also hailed Himachal Chief Minister P.K Dhumal and veteran leader Shanta Kumar for their united effort in ensuring the party’s victory in the hill state. “The victory of Gujarat has silenced all our opponents,” the BJP chief said.

Modi, who does not figure even in the high-level team constituted by Rajnath Singh to oversee the party’s preparations for the elections in states this year and to Lok Sabha in early 2009, reigned at the BJP national executive meet. He drew a standing ovation for several minutes when he was called to the dais at the Executive.



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