Time for sloganeering over, PM tells party men

ALLAHABAD,NISTULA HEBBAR:The BJP’s national executive meeting here was expected to set the tone for the party’s campaign for the 2017 polls in Uttar Pradesh, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi did just that by not only launching a scathing attack on the ruling Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party in the State, but also cautioning his party men that “the time for sloganeering was over.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at public rally marking the end of Bharatiya Janata Party's two-day national executive meet in Allahabad. Photo: AP

On the final day of the meeting on Monday, there were two speeches by Mr. Modi; one, at a mammoth rally in the city and another, a closed-door one for his party’s executive. Both highlighted his hopes and fears in his quest to gain dominance in India’s most politically crucial State.

At the public rally, he kept the focus on development issues, castigating both the BSP and the SP for playing a version of tag for the last two decades and keeping the State backward and lawless. “I ask the people of Uttar Pradesh to break this five-year alternation between these two parties which is like a fixed match, where they criticise each other when out of power but fail to act against each other’s corruption,” he said.

At the closed-door meeting, he was more candid about his in-house concerns, amid much speculation about divided leadership in the State unit, and cases where party leaders have spoken out of turn. He offered a seven-word “mantra” for leaders and workers to follow.

“The people of the country cannot be made happy by just sloganeering. The time for sloganeering is over. They want to see the country strengthened,” he said. “I offer you a seven-word mantra to follow in order to reflect our ideology. Have sewa bhav (spirit of service), santulan (balance), sayyam (patience), samanwaya (co-ordination), sakaratmak (positive attitude), samvedana (empathy) and samvad (engage in dialogue).”

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who briefed the media about this speech, said the Prime Minister spoke about India being on the cusp of historic change.

Time for political yagna, says Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday called for a political ‘yagna’ in Uttar Pradesh to put it on the path of development.

Addressing a public rally here, after the closed-door speech at the party’s national executive meeting, Mr. Modi lauded the people of Uttar Pradesh for having been “single-handedly responsible” for a full majority government at the Centre in three decades.

“Today, we must start another yagna [sacrificial fire], that of vikas [development]. This yagna will require the ahooti [sacrifice] of nepotism, lawlessness, corruption and communalism,” the Prime Minister said.

“I ask you to bring the BJP to power in the State. In every State where the party has a government, its ranking on the development scale is high. If, in the next five years I do not deliver development, you are free to kick me out,” said Mr. Modi.

Nishad community

His only nod to identity issues was the reference to Allahabad as “Nisharaj ki dharti (the land of the King of Mallahs or boatmen)” a community mentioned in the Ram Charitmanas as having helped Lord Rama, his brother Laxmana and his wife, the goddess Sita cross the Ganga in spate.

The Nishad community has around 1.5 lakh votes in the area.

Mr. Modi’s focus on development issues contrasted with BJP chief Amit Shah’s emphasis on events in Kairana in the western part of the State where the party alleges that 346 Hindu families have been forced to migrate from Muslim-majority areas due to threats.