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Congress misinterpreting people's mandate: BJP

By Neena Vyas

MUMBAI, JUNE 23. The political resolution adopted by the Bharatiya Janata Party at its national executive committee meeting here today launched a scathing attack on the Congress-led coalition Government at the Centre. Its formation "marks a victory for the regressive forces" in India's political system and it could "push the country back into the vortex of instability" and "unforeseeable negative developments," the resolution stated.

The new ruling coalition far from being secular was "pseudo-secular," even "anti-secular," the resolution said, pointing a finger at the inclusion of a Muslim League MP from Kerala in the Council of Ministers.

It accused the Congress of "misinterpreting" the people's mandate and projecting it as the people's vote in its favour. That was "unfounded," the resolution said, because the mandate was fractured. This was also the stance in the presidential address of M. Venkaiah Naidu on the opening day of the three-day meet.

While stating that the party viewed the electoral setback very seriously, it refused to see the result as a mandate for a Congress-led Government.

The resolution mentioned the inclusion of "tainted" Ministers" but, surprisingly, demanded "an effective law for barring persons who are chargesheeted in cases of heinous crimes" from contesting elections or holding high office. It may be recalled that the Vajpayee Government had legislated — in consultation with Opposition parties — to overrule the Supreme Court, which had upheld an Election Commission order in this matter.

Above all, the strongest attack was on the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, who was described as a "Super Prime Minister." She was charged with belittling the high office of Prime Minister and diluting the dignity and honour due to it. "For the first time we do not have an elected Prime Minister but a selected Prime Minister bereft of real authority," the resolution noted.

Not only did the BJP charge the new Government with creating two power centres, it saw a third power centre in the Left parties. The United Progressive Alliance was numerically led by the Congress — meaning it has more MPs — but it was the CPI (M) that was leading the ruling alliance "ideologically and pragmatically" from the outside. The BJP resolution issued a warning to the Left: do not hijack the mandate with just 63 MPs.

It complemented what the Leader of the Opposition, L.K. Advani, said earlier today, and what Mr. Naidu said yesterday. The signal was that the BJP, as the Opposition, would attack the Government for being soft towards terrorism (a reference to the new Government's promise to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act); it noted that the Government agenda was silent on this subject; it commented on the contradictory statements of some Ministers; it virtually declared that the BJP was the truly secular party; and it mentioned the continuing woes of farmers in Andhra Pradesh and the starvation deaths in West Bengal.

As for its six years in power, it acknowledged the statesmanlike leadership of "Atalji" and pointed out that the party was proud to have left the country and the economy in good health. The BJP considered the last six years as a "milestone in the party's future-focussed journey," the resolution stated, although there are strong indications that the party's "future journey" will lay more emphasis on Hindutva.

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