SPEECHES

Salient points in the speech by Shri L.K. Advani, Leader of the Opposition (Lok Sabha) at Yuva Kranti Rally organised by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in New Delhi

Friday, 08 August 2008

Shri Rajnath Singhji; Shri Amit Thakar, President of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha; other leaders on the dais; all the Yuva Morcha delegates who have come from various parts of India; my dear sisters, brothers and young party workers,

My hearty greetings to all of you.

The Olympic Games have begun in Beijing yesterday. At the outset, I join all of you in sending our best wishes to Indian participants in the Games. May they return with glory and success.

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Today is 9th August. It is a sacred day. It is a revolutionary day. This day is recorded in golden letters in the history of India’s Independence Movement. On this very day in 1942, Mahatma Gandhi had given a call for ‘Quit India’. The mass movement that began on that day culminated, five years later, in India’s independence on 15th August 1947.

Six days from now, we shall celebrate the 61st anniversary of India’s Independence Day. But we must remember that it was 9th August that paved the way for 15th August.

We must also remember that, at the start of the ‘Quit India Movement’, Mahatma Gandhi had given another slogan: ‘Do or Die’. What was its meaning? It meant that freedom was not possible without struggle, without sacrifice and without martyrdom.

Today, when thousands of youth have assembled here for the Yuva Kranti Rally, I would like to affirm that the time to take to the path of struggle has come once again.

• Struggle for India’s unity and integrity.

• Struggle for India’s national security; especially, internal security. Struggle to save India from the scourge of terrorism and naxalism.

• Struggle for the economic security of the aam aadmi. Struggle to protect the livelihoods of common people from the assault of unprecedented price rise.

• Struggle for employment, education and bright future for our youth, who are our Nation’s richest resource.

• Struggle to save our kisans and rural areas from the growing crisis in agriculture.

• Struggle to save democracy, to protect our cherished democratic institutions from those who recently converted India’s Parliament into a market for horse-trading.

I would like to add here that the time has also come to protect the country’s politics from those who harbour an anti-Hindu mindset.

Ours is a vast country with many diversities. India’s national culture has always shown respect to every faith and every community, irrespective of whether it is small or large. Sadly, a new trend of vote-bank politics has taken root in our country which thrives on hatred and exclusion of some community or the other.

Thus, for example, some people in Maharashtra think that they will benefit politically by cultivating an anti-North Indian mindset. Similarly, attempts are being made to cultivate a mindset against this or that caste, this or that religious community to consolidate one’s own vote bank. This is not in our national interest.

Now Congress and some other parties have begun to think that they can benefit politically by promoting an anti-Hindu mindset. This is clearly evident in the recent developments in Kashmir. A similar anti-Hindu mindset was also evident in the Congress-led UPA Government’s approach towards the Ram Sethu issue.

This anti-Hindu mindset, and the politics based on this mindset, must be defeated. Which is why, we wholeheartedly support the courageous struggle of the people of Jammu under the banner of the Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samithi.

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The people of Jammu have been agitating for many days now. There is intense anger among Hindus in other parts of the country, too. Why?

The Amarnath Caves in Kashmir are a sacred pilgrimage centre for Hindus. Tens of thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the country go on Amarnath Yatra every year. It is a very difficult yatra. The caves are at a height of over 13,000 ft. Pilgrims have to trek over a long distance through a harsh terrain.

Young people like you can bear the difficulties during the yatra. But what about others? Don’t they need basic amenities? Shouldn’t considerations of their safety be addressed?

Which is why, the Government of Jammu & Kashmir constituted the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board by an act of the state legislature. The state’s Governor is its chairman. The Board made a request for land for pilgrims’ amenities. The State Government decided to transfer 100 acres of land to provide amenities for pilgrims by erecting temporary structures.

The Government was not that of the BJP. It was a Congress-PDP coalition Government. It was a sound decision. Naturally, it was widely welcomed.

However, suddenly there was a wave of protests in Kashmir Valley, inspired by foreign forces known for their anti-India stance. The protestors demanded reversal of the Government’s decision by claiming that it would change the demographic profile of Kashmir and threaten Kashmir’s identity.

It was a ridiculous claim. How can Kashmir’s identity be threatened by the erection of temporary structures on just 100 acres of land for provision of basic amenities, and that too for only two months in a year?

What is Kashmir’s identity any way? Isn’t Kashmir an integral part of India?

But the Congress-led Government in Srinagar surrendered before anti-India forces. The Congress-led Government in New Delhi gave its green signal for the State Government’s surrender.

Two things become obvious from the Congress party’s approach to the issue. Firstly, that the Congress leadership can easily buckle under the pressure of anti-national forces. Secondly, in the Congress party’s perspective there is no place for the just demands and aspirations of Hindus.

Which is why, Jammu has become a volcano today. I heartily congratulate the patriotic and self-respecting people of Jammu. They have adopted the spirit of ‘Do or Die’ and taken to the path of struggle. Let us not forget that the people of Jammu are agitating with the Tricolour in their hands.

To tolerate injustice is a sign of cowardice.

But I would like to state emphatically today that this is not a struggle of the people of Jammu alone. It is the struggle of all the patriotic people of India.

This is not a struggle merely for 100 acres of land. This is a struggle for the identity of our Motherland.

This is a struggle against the politics of double-standards. It is a struggle against the politics of divisiveness and separatism.

Nearly six decades ago, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, had waged a spirited struggle against the same separatist mindset. ‘Ek Desh Mein Do Pradhan, Do Vidhan, Do Nishan, Nahi Chalenge, Nahi Chalenge’ – this was the slogan of the Satyagraha that he had led. I had participated in that agitation.

Now the time has come again for us to once again say, “Ek Desh Mein Do Mapdand Nahi Chalenge, Nahi Chalenge”.

The BJP shall never allow the politics of double-standards in respect of legitimate Hindu demands. We are prepared to make any sacrifices for this purpose.

Let me clarify here that the provision of land for amenities for Amarnath pilgrims is not a Hindu vs. Muslim issue. Land should be provided — and it is indeed provided — for creating amenities for the pilgrims at Muslim or Christian pilgrimage centres. At the international airport in Delhi, there is a separate terminal for Haj pilgrims.

If people give us the mandate to form the next Government, we shall unveil a large and ambitious project for expanding amenities at all pilgrimage centres in India. There is also the need to improve safety provisions. Recently, 145 pilgrims at the Nanda Devi shrine in Himachal Pradesh lost their lives due to stampede. Such incidents must be avoided.

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India has never discriminated against any faith, nor will it ever do so. Therefore, I would like to appeal to all my Muslim brethren to support the Hindus’ demand on the Amarnath issue.

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UPA Government is a threat to the Nation

Terrorists have no fear in the UPA rule. For they know that the Government will not take any action against them. They also know that the Government has no political will to act against terrorism.

A colleague of mine in Mumbai, Dr. Kirit Somaiya, recently made an application under RTI to the Home Minister to provide full information about all the terrorist attacks since May 2004. The Government admitted that as many as 23 terrorist attacks have taken place during this period, in which 541 innocent people lost their lives.

But the Government also admitted that not a single guilty person has been convicted in any of the 23 cases.

The insensitivity of the UPA Government was most shockingly evident last week when a tribunal lifted the ban on SIMI because the Government had failed to provide sufficient material to show that SIMI is an anti-national and subversive organization. There was naturally nationwide outrage against the tribunal’s decision, forcing the Government to approach the Supreme Court for a stay against the lifting of the ban.

What was no less shocking, however, was that two ministers in Dr. Manmohan Singh’s Cabinet publicly hailed the tribunal’s decision. In so doing, they went against the Government’s decision to seek re-imposition of the ban on SIMI.

Therefore, the people of India would like to know whether the Prime Minister called his two ministerial colleagues to reprimand them for having violated the principle of collective responsibility of the Cabinet.

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Why is the UPA Government not convening the Monsoon Session of Parliament?

Everybody knows how the UPA Government survived the trust vote in the special session of the Lok Sabha on 21-22 July. The Congress and the Samajwadi Party colluded to carry out a scandalous horse-trading operation to convert a minority Government into a majority Government.

After having won a fraudulent trust vote, the Government is now afraid of convening the normal monsoon session of Parliament. It is afraid because it does not know how to show its face in the House after the ‘cash-for-votes’ scandal.

Not convening the regular session of Parliament is an insult to democracy. I demand on behalf of the BJP and the NDA that the Government immediately convene the monsoon session and answer the Opposition’s questions.