Modi, Yeddyurappa conspicuous by their absence at party's National Executive

In a scathing attack on the United Progressive Alliance government, Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari on Friday said there “is a serious crisis of confidence” in the government and the authority of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “is seriously eroded.”

Addressing the BJP National Executive being held here, Mr. Gadkari said the Congress had become a ‘problem' and it was the responsibility of his party to solve it by ensuring its electoral defeat.

The coming Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh was the other dominant theme of his speech.

Conspicuous absence of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the former Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Uttarakhand, B.S. Yeddyurappa and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, cast a shadow on the conference.

The official explanation was that Mr. Modi and Mr. Yeddyurappa were pre-occupied with domestic engagements. According to party insiders it was for the first time that Mr. Modi could not participate in a National Executive meeting.

While maintaining that the BJP, as the alternative pole to the Congress, had succeeded in building up a national momentum against the UPA government, Mr. Gadkari counselled the party men to be cautious in their demeanour and statements. “Our actions are all being carefully watched by people and we must not allow any controversy to be created.”

Structure strategy

In an oblique reference to the jostling within the top brass of the party for positions, the BJP chief argued that a ‘structure strategy' and ‘united efforts' were the need of the hour to take on the government.

Though he minced no words in suggesting that the UPA is in totters, there was no hint from Mr. Gadkari that the political environment could pave the way for a mid-term poll.

“On the national scene, the image of the UPA government is at the lowest ebb. There is a serious crisis of leadership within the government. The authority of the prime Minister has been compromised. Ministers are at loggerheads. Within the UPA the negative returns of relying on dynasty are now being felt,” Mr. Gadkari said.

On the 2G spectrum scam, he accused the government of adopting `different yardsticks' in dealing with the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja, and Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram. He maintained that if there was evidence of involvement of the Prime Minister's Office, Dr. Singh should be investigated.

“In spite of voluminous evidence proving the culpability and complicity of Mr. Chidambaram in the case, different yardsticks are being followed. The CBI is not being allowed to probe this….If the Prime Minister is so indifferent to the problems and crisis faced by the government, then why is he in office? He always has a hallmark reply that he did not know anything,” BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad told journalists quoting Mr. Gadkari.

Mr. Prasad said that Mr. Gadkari informed the Executive Council that the party would have no alliance with either the Bahujan Samaj Party or the Samajwadi Party in the U.P. Assembly election, scheduled early next year.

Striking a realistic note on the prospects of the party in the State, the BJP chief told the delegates that though the BJP's strength was increasing, the party would prefer to sit in the Opposition if it did not get the numbers.

Declaring full party support to senior leader L.K Advani's yatra that begins on October 11, Mr. Gadkari said good governance and clean politics would now become the focus of public discourse.

He described Mr. Advani as the “epitome of probity, credibility and transparency.”

On Pakistan, Mr. Gadkari argued that despite the good intentions of people of India to maintain cordial relations, it would not be possible as an extensive terror infrastructure continued to flourish in the top echelons in Pakistan's policy-making establishment.

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