L K Advani on Sunday sought a charter of commitments to minorities in the BJP’s agenda, stressing that the “equation between the BJP and minorities” has to change.
In the written part of his speech at the concluding session of the BJP National Council meeting here, the senior party leader said: “I believe that the mutual equation between the BJP and the minorities must change. The BJP must take the initiative in this direction by including a ‘Charter of Commitments’ to minorities in its Agenda for Governance and Development.”
The suggestion may not go down well with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, whose government had objected to a central scholarship scheme targeted at minorities before its plea was rejected by the state high court recently.
Advani also stressed in his speech that the BJP needed to reach out to other parties to widen the NDA into “NDA plus” if it was to provide a “viable non-Congress alternative” in the next elections. Nitish Kumar-led Bihar must be equally empahised under the BJP’s good governance model, he said.
The senior leader, however, was confident that the BJP would be successful in demolishing the “propaganda” that the party was hostile to minorities. He pointed out that Goa CM Manohar Parrikar had won “the hearts and minds of a large section of the Christian community”, giving the party more minority community MLAs in the state than the Congress. He also cited the recent elections in a Muslim-dominated town in Gujarat’s Jamnagar, where the BJP’s Muslim candidates had won 24 of 27 seats.
Calling Modi “the most unfairly maligned politician in the history of independent India”, Advani referred in his written speech to the European Union’s re-think on the CM as well as Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind leader Mehmood Madani’s reported “praise” for him.
Advani regretted that the BJP had failed to live up to people’s expectations on the issue of corruption, as reflected in Anna Hazare’s movement. He particularly singled out the dithering over action against B S Yeddyurappa, even as former party president Nitin Gadkari, who handled the matter, sat behind him on the dias.
Urging that the standard set by Atal Behari Vajpayee of the BJP being a “party with a difference” be maintained, Advani said: “There must be no compromise with corruption.”