Surajkund: The BJP on Sunday welcomed the public admission by senior Congress leader A.K. Antony that his party’s secularism was slanted in favour of minorities and said that it now stands vindicated regarding its position on the issue.
Addressing first-time BJP MPs on the concluding day of an orientation workshop here, party veteran L.K. Advani lauded the “honest soul-searching” by Mr. Antony and hoped that more Congress leaders would back his stand.
“We should welcome this honest soul-searching by Mr. Antony for he is now saying what we in BJP have been saying all along.
“We have always said that secularism should mean justice for all, appeasement of none and discrimination against none,” Mr. Advani said.
At a recent conference in Kerala, Mr. Antony had said that Congress’s secularism was slanted in favour of the minority community and that had led to the majority section being alienated from the party.
Mr. Antony, the former Defence Minister, had also called for introspection on Congress’s policy regarding secularism.
Taking a dig at Congress, Mr. Advani said, “I hope more and more Congress leaders endorse what Mr. Antony has said, leading to a change in Congress’s approach to secularism.
“As far as our party is concerned, there is already a perceptible change in the way minority communities have been looking at the Narendra Modi government.”
Advising the new MPs to consolidate the trend of minorities voting for BJP, Mr. Advani asked them to make the categories of majority and minority completely irrelevant.
“We should make the categories of majority and minority completely irrelevant while fully safeguarding people’s rights and freedoms to follow their respective religions,” he said.
Mr Advani said BJP’s decisive victory in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections had not only changed the political landscape of the country but also influenced the political debate in the opposition camp.
Mr. Advani, meanwhile, hinted that Congress may not get the position of the official Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, saying that the party does not have the numbers required for the same.
However, Mr. Advani asked the first-time MPs to not talk about the Congress or the previous UPA government’s failures. He said that the people were already convinced about the same and had therefore voted Congress out of power.
“All of us should talk about our government’s vision, its policies, plans, decisions,” he said.
Further, exhorting the first-time MPs to make sure they became “second-time MPs” to help bring BJP back to power in 2019, Mr. Advani urged them to shed arrogance of power and remain connected to party leaders and the public while working in the interest of the nation.
BJP should be in office for at least the next 10 years, Mr. Advani said, adding that to achieve this, MPs should strive to strengthen the bond between themselves and party workers on the one hand and with the public on the other.
Referring to the hard decisions Mr. Modi has hinted at, Mr. Advani asked BJP MPs to explain to the people why such decisions are necessary and how they will help the nation and the common man in the long run.
MPs have a major responsibility in implementing the Prime Minister’s important message about making development a people’s movement, he said.
He also asked BJP MPs to work towards improving India’s Human Development Index ranking by 2022, the year which will mark the 75th anniversary of the country’s Independence.