By Nitin Gadkari
While we are certainly marching ahead but we just cannot afford to be complacent. The nation is facing one of the severest Crisis of Leadership and people of India are looking towards the BJP to provide leadership that will translate their aspirations into reality. The 20-month old rule of the UPA-2 has proved to be a disaster. Everyday, the nation is waking up to a new scam. From sports to civil supplies and telecommunication to civil aviation, UPA-2 has allowed every arena of governance to be exploited by scamsters. And while looters were emptying the government coffers, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was standing guard with his eyes closed and perhaps, hands tied.
It is ironical that when the Congress was celebrating 125 years of its existence, the UPA was observing year 2010 as Year of Scams and Corruption. Practically, every month unveiled a new scam. Scams after scams made organisation of Commonwealth Games a subject of public ridicule. Thanks to the splendid performance of our sportspersons, as a nation; we could save some grace. Soon came the Adarsh Society scam. A Chief Minister who was brought in after the terrorists’ attack on Mumbai in November 2009 had to vacate his seat for a scam that showed how even security considerations were disregarded by ruling party bigwigs and bureaucrats. And the 2G scam was literally the height of it. The huge loss to the exchequer due to this Mother of all Scams is almost equal to the budget outlay of some states.
Let us remember that the magnitude of these scams is such that even agencies and departments of the government could not push them under the carpet. Judiciary also had to take their cognizance. All these scams are so very serious that they cannot be dubbed as propaganda by the opposition. They are real and now nobody can shield the criminals involved. Even after the unearthing of so many scams, UPA leaders are unabashedly talking of “zero tolerance to corruption”.
We have every reason to believe that these scams are not just systemic failures much less any kind of just aberrations. These scams are some kind of a planned loot of national coffers. The way the UPA government went ahead with the appointment of the present Chief Vigilance Commissioner overruling the objections raised by Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, smacks of a particular design to provide systemic protection to all those who are corrupt. This is nothing but an attempt to subvert the system to suit personal designs. But recent revelations in the case of Bofors have served the purpose of reminding the UPA and one can never fool all the people all the time. Now that the Revenue Establishment has conclusively established that kickbacks were given and received, if this government is serious about probity and accountability, it should move the Supreme Court to have a Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed forthwith. Sermons, declaration of multi-point programmes, and empty appeals to political functionaries who are your own appointees will make no impact. What is required is a series of credible measures starting with a firm commitment to punishing the guilty. The rule of law is unambiguous. With prima facie evidence in hand, the law enforcing agencies must file an FIR. They have to arrest and interrogate the suspect, collect evidence and file charge sheet within a stipulated time frame. No body knows as to why this has not happened.
What people are asking the UPA are only few simple questions: Why are you shying away from JPC? What are you afraid of? From Tul Mohan Rams and Nagarwalas to Warren Andersons and Ottavio Quatrochis why all those guilty have always escaped punishment? These are not just episodes of corruption. These are also examples of how successive Congress governments have stabbed in the back of the people who elected them to protect their interests.
If the Prime Minister is so very confident that he is not guilty, why should he be so stubborn in opposing the legitimate demand of JPC? This stubbornness is reminiscent of the pre-emergency days. BJP condemns this approach and forewarns the government that this confrontationist approach will cost the government extremely dearly. It is this stubbornness that is to blame for the logjam in the Parliament. Not opposition but the government is squarely responsible for this logjam. The entire opposition is united on this issue and the sooner the government accepts our demand, the better for all.
Terrorism: Poor Track Record of UPA
UPA’s track record on the front of fighting against terrorism is also extremely poor. On the Kashmir front, the interlocutors continue to be confused and unclear about their own task. There are no specific terms of reference laid down for them and hence their exercise has become rudderless. A similar rudderlessness prevails in tackling the Naxal issue. While we all in BJP and many of our Chief Ministers are consistently asking for a common strategy and concerted efforts to fight with the Naxalite menace, UPA is speaking in many voices on every terror related issue. Within the ruling party, there are elements who hobnob with the Naxals, pamper those who see India as an encroacher in Jammu and Kashmir and try to play with the sensibilities of majority community by blowing up the threat of peripheral groups to rake up the so called Hindu Terrorism. Should we not expect some basic level of maturity from the UPA leaders? Are they not doing disservice to the cause of our war on terror by undermining the threat from one group and demonizing the other? Can some of the UPA leaders be so callous and irresponsible so as to deal with terrorism in a crass partisan manner their facts based on inconclusive investigations, even while sharing assessments with the foreign diplomats? All our countrymen are extremely concerned that the irresponsible utterances of some of the UPA leaders are bound to weaken India’s case and give a fillip to those from across the border. Unfortunately, UPA misses no opportunity of sending a wrong signal. When the entire nation is expecting the government to expedite the hanging of Afzal Guru, who has been convicted in the case of Attack on the Parliament, the UPA has set Shaukat Guru, Afzal Guru’s associate, in this case; free almost one year before he completes his jail term, for what they certify as “Good Conduct.” This is a case of utter disregard for public opinion. Is this not a manifestation of the government’s soft and unserious approach towards terrorism?
At this juncture, we demand that the government publish the entire data pertaining to terrorist attacks since 2004 and give details of the investigations completed, cases filed and conviction made of the guilty. The nation also seeks information about the relief and rehabilitation measures taken by the government for those who are victims of terror in one way or the other.
Adapted from Presidential Address at BJP National Executive Meeting, Guwahati (Assam) on January 03, 2011