Sunday, Oct 20, 2002
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By Mahesh Vijapurkar
The party's central office-bearers, however, at a conclave here chose to await presentations by the State-unit chiefs tomorrow before working out a formula.
The dismal performance in Jammu and Kashmir was discussed.
But since today's meeting did not have anyone from the State and all State unit chiefs are to join in tomorrow in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, the subject would get detailed attention tomorrow.
This was important, a senior functionary of the party told The Hindu, since eight more States were to go to the polls in 2004 and the focal point that was developing among the top hierarchy to be tested perhaps on the State unit chiefs tomorrow that the non-BJP ruled States were taking enormous sums of Central funds but are performing poorly in delivery. The BJP would aggressively seek to run campaigns in these States "soon enough".
A three-member panel, headed by the central vice-president, Gopinath Munde, was set up today to tour Rajasthan where a severe drought is experienced but as the party spokesman, Arun Jaitley, told the media, "there are starvation deaths due to failure of the administration" in Congress-ruled States.
Though Mr. Jaitley harped on the "success of democracy over terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, this was discussed at length, he said the party has to grapple with the bigger challenge of winning elections elsewhere.
Other issues that engaged the party leaders was the "failure of legislation in to curb the infiltration in the north-east".
Mr. Jaitley said: "Several suggestions were made". One issue the meeting did not discuss, however, is the subject of dissonance from allies such as the Shiv Sena and the Sangh Parivar units such as the RSS on the subject of terrorism.
Though he did not name Bal Thackeray, Mr. Jaitley asked all affiliates parties and MPs to see the ground reality in terms of successes of the NDA Government which stemmed from "a rational approach to tackling terrorism" because, for the first time, "security forces were able to visibly establish superiority over militants". The BJP "appreciated the anti-terrorism feelings'' of partners "exasperated with the inherited terrorist problem".
Did not the party officials discuss the outbursts of Mr. Thackeray? Mr. Jaitley said the "BJP's agenda was decided by the party and not others and the media.''
It would, however, persuade the allies to "accommodate our view'' on the success of the Government's campaign against terror, appreciated domestically and internationally. At best, there was only "sporadic instances now".
He appealed that the "positive content be seen".
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