Salient points in the valedictory address by Shri L.K. Advani
Orientation programme for first-time MPs of the BJP
Surajkund (Haryana) – 29 June 2014
It gives me great pleasure to be here at this beautiful Surajkund resort for the first training meet for our party’s first-time MPs in 2014.
We have had such sessions in the past. Since we attach a lot of importance to training our MPs, especially first-time MPs, it has become a regular feature for the party to organise such orientation programmes after each election.
However, there is a big difference between the past and the present.
This time, there is an aroma of victory pervading this hall. The smiles on the faces of all of us are more radiant than ever before.
This is because the election victory that has caused this happiness has been more spectacular than any we have scored in the past.
The BJP’s winning performance in the elections to 16th Lok Sabha has been the best ever in its history.
Kudos to Narendra Modi for a ‘triple-century’ on debut
But there is also another important difference between this orientation programme for first-time MPs and its previous editions. And that difference is that our Prime Minister himself is a first-time MP.
In Test cricket, we have heard of players who score a century or a double century on their debut.
But I do not know of any batsman who becomes a captain in the very first Test he plays and scores a triple century !
This is Narendrabhai’s unique achievement. As the prime ministerial candidate in his very first election, he has led the NDA to win more than 300 seats. The BJP on its own has won 283 seats.
I heartily congratulate Shri Narendra Modi for this historic success. And if I am to take into account the performance generally of his Council of Minister also, I must say the success owes not just to the leader, but to TEAM MODI as well !
Ever since we lost the election in 2004, my dream was to see that the BJP comes to power again. Shri Narendra Modi has made this dream come true.
I congratulate him for this, too.
I also congratulate all those who worked for the party’s success. A huge army of hundreds of thousands of dedicated karyakartas both of the BJP as well as of the RSS strove with singleminded determination for this victory.
From Day One, you should work towards becoming second-time MPs in order to bring BJP back in power again in 2019
My first appeal to each of the first-time MPs is to be in close and regular touch with the party’s karyakartas and supporters in your respective constituencies.
I want each of you to become second-time MPs in 2019. For this, it is necessary that you build a strong relationship with the party organization, and the entire support base, in your state and in your constituencies.
From Day One, the entire party should recognize that the BJP should be in office at least for the next ten years.
And this is not just possible, with the kind of massive victory we have won in 2014, the electorate also expects it to happen. For this, first crucial requirement is the bond between the MP and the karyakartas.
The second crucial requirement is the bond between the MP and the people. Each of you should aspire to be an Ideal MP in the eyes of the people.
This means that you should be accessible, helpful and diligent. Don’t waste your time and power taking up issues of individuals. It’s very easy and tempting to do this. Rather, take up issues that concern the public good.
One more thing. You should remember that you represent not only your constituency but also your state. Therefore, make a deep study of the issues of development and people’s welfare concerning your state. Raise such issues in Parliament and with the concerned ministries or government agencies. Wherever necessary, raise them also with the governments of your own states.
This is especially necessary in states where the BJP is not in power. In such states, both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs of our party have an added responsibility to become spokespersons of the state’s interest in Parliament and also outside Parliament.
Let us communicate to the people our government’s vision, our plans, policies and decisions
The Parliament will begin its Budget session on July 7. The composition of the 16th Lok Sabha will be unlike anything that I have seen so far.
The Congress party does not even have adequate MPs to have its leader recognized as the official Leader of the Opposition.
This places a new responsibility on BJP MPs ─ not only first time MPs but all our party MPs. Like never before, the focus of the media and the political observers will be on how our MPs perform ─ both inside and outside Parliament.
Therefore, I have this advice for all our MPs, especially first-time MPs – indeed, to all ministers and office-bearers of the party.
There is no need to talk much about the Congress party’s or UPA government’s failures. People are convinced about it; which is why they have given an absolute majority to the BJP in recent elections.
Rather, all of us should talk about our government’s vision, its policies, plans, decisions, etc.
As the Prime Minister has said, the government will be required to take certain hard decisions, especially on the economic front. We should explain to the people why such decisions are necessary and why they will help the nation and the common people in the long run.
Please remember that the face and the voice of the government is not only the Prime Minister and members of his council of ministers.
Each one of us represents the government, because we are now MPs of the ruling party. We should scrupulously stay away from any kind of misconduct or controversy. The more we succeed in this, the greater is the strength we impart to the Prime Minister and his government.
MPs have a major responsibility in implementing the PM’s important call to make Development a People’s Movement
I have another advice to first-time MPs ─ and this is something we in the Party have not spoken about much.
I am struck by something that Prime Minister Modi, has been saying in the past one month ─ namely, that Development should become a People’s Movement. This is a new and laudable thought.
The problems and challenges in India’s development are so enormous that we simply cannot address them in the traditional way.
The traditional way is the way in which ministers, bureaucrats and political functionaries decide what to do, and how to do, in respect of Problem A or B or C.
It could be sanitation, drinking water, irrigation, girls’ education, public health, environment protection or scores of such challenges.
In this list, I count even our ambitious resolve to clean up the Holy Ganga.
In the traditional way of governance, there has been a disconnect between the government machinery and the people in addressing all such development challenges. This is why, we are not getting the desired results, even though the government spends considerable resources on each of these various issues.
Therefore, Narendraji is right in insisting that Development should become a People’s Movement.
Many things are needed to make this happen. But what is relevant in today’s context is that our Ministers and Members of Parliament should take the lead in involving people’s organisations in the implementation of government’s schemes, programmes and policies.
I suggest that the new party president, and a small group of ministers and party functionaries, working under the guidance of the Prime Minister, should prepare the guidelines to implement this very important and useful thought.
It is no doubt useful for the BJP because when our ministers and MPs take the initiative in making Development a People’s Movement, the people are bound to support us in future elections.
However, it is even more useful for India because our country must achieve, within the next 5-10 years, big success on various development parameters. For example, I would like the Prime Minister to make an appeal to the people that, before India celebrates her 75th anniversary of Independence in 2022, our country’s ranking in the United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI), which today stands at 134, should be below 50.
This is possible if we make ─ and only if we make ─ Development a People’s Movement. Our Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has demonstrated it.
As some of you know, Dr. Harsh Vardhan played a key role in the polio eradication campaign, which was truly a sustained and well-coordinated people’s campaign.
The campaign has succeeded in making India polio-free.
We can certainly achieve similar success in all other areas.
A.K. Antony’s plain speak on Congress secularism has vindicated the BJP
My dear MPs and party colleagues,
The BJP’s decisive victory in the elections has not only changed the political landscape in the country, but also influenced the political debate in the opposition camp.
Just a few days back, Shri A.K. Antony, who is a very senior Congress leader and former Union minister, publicly said that the Congress party should do introspection about its policy and practice with regard to secularism.
He stated that the Congress party’s secularism is slanted in favour of minority communities and hinted that this has alienated his party from the majority community.
We should welcome this honest soul-searching by Shri Antony. For he is now saying what we in the BJP had been saying all along.
We have always said that secularism should mean ─ Justice for All, Appeasement of None, Discrimination against None.
I hope more and more Congress leaders endorse what Shri Antony has said, leading to a change in the Congress party’s approach to secularism.
As far as our party is concerned, there is already a perceptible change in the way minority communities have been looking at the Modi government.
As you first-time MPs will testify, in many constituencies minority voters voted in significant numbers for the BJP in recent elections.
We should consolidate this positive change.
Our long-term vision for India and Indian politics should be one in which there is no distinction whatsoever between majority and minority communities in public life. Indeed, we should make these categories of majority and minority completely irrelevant, while fully safeguarding the people’s right and freedom to follow their respective religions.
These are some of the thoughts I wanted to share with you on this occasion.
I congratulate each one of you on your success in entering Parliament for the first time.
I wish you all the best.
Let us together work for the success of the NDA government, so that it meets the high expectations of the people of our great nation.