Wednesday, Dec 25, 2002
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By Neena Vyas
On the closing day of its two-day national executive committee meeting here, the party said that its ideology of "cultural nationalism'' (or Hindutva) had been "endorsed by the people of Gujarat'' and it was confident that it would now "find wide-scale acceptability all over the country.'' The Gujarat election was a "trial for cultural nationalism'' which was very much on the future roadmap of the party, along with economic liberalisation and development, the resolution said.
At the same time, the BJP declared that it stood for the "protection of each and every Indian and his right to religious freedom.'' It seems that the party had noted that the declaration by its president, Venkaiah Naidu, on Monday that the Gujarat experience would be replicated everywhere had been "misunderstood and misinterpreted.'' Therefore, it felt the need to state what was the constitutional duty of every government protection of every Indian.
Applauding the performance of the National Democratic Alliance at the Centre, the resolution said that several important bills had been passed, including significant economic legislation and the Freedom of Information Bill, which would bring "unprecedented transparency in government functioning.''
Human rights activists came in for some sharp criticism, especially in the context of the trial of December 13 Parliament attack case. While traditionally, the human rights movement was aimed at protecting citizens' rights against an oppressive State power, the party said that the State under Atal Behari Vajpayee was now "benign." The threat to human rights was from "private terror groups'' but "regrettably'' human rights groups had "decided to side with these terror groups,'' the resolution said. The Congress was criticised sharply the Jammu and Kashmir Government (in which it is a coalition partner) "had decided to go soft on terror,'' the Rajasthan Government had been unable to prevent hunger deaths, Madhya Pradesh was an example of non-development, in Karnataka, the Government had been unable to arrest the forest brigand, Veerappan, and the Chhattisgarh and Punjab Chief Ministers had "demeaned the dignity of their office'' by courting arrest in Delhi.
The important signal was the criticism that the Congress was soft on terrorism, for the party had juxtaposed this against its own self-declared commitment to eliminate terrorism despite evidence on the ground that terrorist acts were in fact increasing. When talking about Gujarat, the party resolution stated that "our opponents considered terrorism as a virtual non-issue'' and thus indirectly justified the BJP's high-pitched campaign against `Mian Musharraf' as if it were a war against Pakistan that was the main issue in Gujarat.
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