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Saturday, Dec 03, 2022
Outlook.com
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NDA Address

'What Happened In Gujarat Cannot Be Forgotten'

It was vintage Vajpayee, playing the statesman as he sent many messages in what is called his inimitable style -- no repeat of Gujarat violence, condemning "bad language", the killings in Jhajjar, and sending out a clear signal for moderation.

'What Happened In Gujarat Cannot Be Forgotten'
| AP
'What Happened In Gujarat Cannot Be Forgotten'
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The weather is changing. And throats are getting sore. I, too, am a victim of a bad throat. But we have faced adversities in the last three years.

We faced the cyclone in Orissa and the earthquake in Gujarat. Even today, drought in several places is rendering life difficult for the common man. We are doing everything to fight such exigencies. But every time I am reminded of one thing. If only, soon after achieving independence, we had planned to merge all main rivers, knit them together as one whole, we wouldn’t have the situation we are facing now.

Our agriculture is dependent on weather and when farmers do not have irrigation facilities, they suffer. Disputes over river-water sharing are reaching courts today. Why can’t we sit together and resolve them through dialogue?

The Centre is aware of the problems arising out of drought. It’s the responsibility of the states to secure relief to farmers so that they can cultivate their land. There is no paucity of foodgrains in the country and the credit for this goes to our farmers and scientists. I am reminded of the time when shiploads of foodgrains arrived in our country. Today we are exporting foodgrains in large quantities. We would have faced severe problems in tackling the drought if there was paucity of foodgrains. We have made credit available to farmers and we will do everything to encourage them.

We must do everything to encourage farmers. We want to secure food for everyone so that nobody goes hungry. The question of dying from hunger should not arise. We should strive to create such a condition.

We have also tasted success in the last three years. We will strive harder. Our security has been strengthened in the last three years, as George Saheb informed us. The world recognises that our security is intact and we will face any emergency in the future. We have fought terrorism and will continue to do so. We did not send the bodies of those who dared to enter Parliament and target parliamentarians. They lie buried here.

They met the same fate in Akshardham. A place of worship, where people congregate daily to pray was targeted by terrorists—but they did not go back alive thanks to the bravery of our security officers.

Terrorism is a monster fed by its own blood. In Moscow, innocent people, women and children in a theatre are being held hostage by terrorists. The number of terrorists is not known. But they are not in large numbers. But with few weapons, they can strike terror anywhere.

Look at what has happened in Bali. I was there last year, Bali is a part of Indonesia, an ancient island, a richly endowed place that was set ablaze by terrorists.Those who destroyed the World Trade Tower and killed thousands of people have not yet been arrested. We need to be physically and mentally better prepared to fight terrorists.

We have been fighting this menace for the last 20 years. But the world never paid any attention to our problem. Even now, the world attention is not properly focused on our fight against terrorism. They don’t want to make a distinction between terrorism and terrorist nations.

Our neighbouring country is fast developing into a terrorist nation. They are creating a facade of fighting terror in the world. But they don’t hesitate in sending mercenaries across the border to create mayhem, to kill innocent children and women.

We have to destroy this monster. We are fighting and will continue to fight. Perhaps we will not get the results as soon as we want. But we are not short on preparation. We need to be more psychologically vigilant.

This is a new kind of challenge. One can understand if soldiers are face to face at the border and fire at each other. But the whole world will have to unite against people who challenge humanity by sneaking in and creating terror on the sly. We have extended our support in the fight against world terror.

The country’s fiscal health has improved. Prices are under control. There is no deficit. Public welfare schemes are in the process of being implemented. Nobody has, over the last 50 years, built the kind of road network we are building. Roads are important links of communication and transport. Things would have been very different if we had paid attention to this aspect of public work. Even then, we are trying the best we can. Big housing projects have been undertaken.

We understand that the youth of this country is facing a big problem of unemployment. But the means of production are such that they don’t require too much manpower. More machines are being used. New technology is being used. But we have to think more innovative ways of creating more employment opportunities.

The NDA’s biggest achievement is that barring few exceptions, we have been able to maintain law and order and peace. We have been able to maintain peace and harmony in the country. NDA is representative of all parts of India. From Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Farooq (Abdullah) Saheb is sitting here. We had decided to hold free and fair elections in Jammu and Kashmir. But people did not believe us. They used to laugh at what we were saying. But we declared, from the ramparts of Lal Quila, that there will be elections in J&K. And these will be free and fair elections. The people of J&K will be free to declare their verdict. And that is exactly what happened.

Farooq Saheb and his party had an important role to play in conducting peaceful elections in J&K. Things change only when everyone co-operates. It is true that people of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir were not happy with the Government’s policies. This happens. People who run a state have to take care of everything. Sometimes they cannot do everything. But holding elections in J&K and holding free and fair elections in J&K is a big achievement. It is an event that has created and changed history. Our neighbour has lost his wits. Terrorists are sitting quietly.

We want that political parties in J&K get together. Our coalition is a successful coalition. It sets an example. A joint government was formed after the Emergency as well. But the Janata Party broke away. The government also fell. But we are here for the last three years although three years is not such a long time. But in a country where infants don’t survive for very long, a child has survived for three years and that indicates something. How was it made possible? It was not a mere political game for power.

If so many people can remain together for so long only for power, then why don’t others get together? Try getting together in J&K or Uttar Pradesh. Fingers are pointed at us. Parties that have come with us are by and large provincial, regional in their character. They were ignored for a long time. Nobody understood their pain.

A country facing big problems and its government cannot find a cure for everybody’s pain. But we understood the regional parties, we joined hands with them. They came with us with love, with a feeling of togetherness. And it will be beneficial not just for the parties but for the country as well.

The country has been politically stable for the last three years. If nature was with us, we would have changed the face of the country. But there is no cause for worry. Better seasons will come. We will fight all adversity and do everything that helps the country. We want everyone’s help to complete this task.

Politics has its own place. But there is no place for violence in politics. Bad language has no place in politics. Proper language should be used. One should respect certain boundaries. We have to fight social inequalities.

What happened in Gujarat cannot be forgotten. We have to remember. And take a pledge that it never happens again. Now something has happened in Jhajjar. Forgive me, Chautala ji. You have taken action. But in this country of 100 crore, Dalits are not safe, women are not safe? These are not big challenges. But they reflect our character, our sense of being.

We have to fight and fight together. I call upon other political parties to join us. Criticism has its place but nation-building also has a place of its own.

I was asked to speak less and I wanted Advaniji to speak. And I know that it is getting late. But if they publish that Advaniji didn’t speak, a storm will be raised. They (the media) will create mountains out of molehills, make up crows out of feathers. They have created conflicts. They say there is tussle between me and Advaniji. We have worked together for so long and will continue to do so.

But let me impress upon the media-persons to take care, use some restraint. I went to Lucknow and fell ill. I had a bad throat. I said I wouldn’t speak and cancelled the press conference. I said what’s the point in speaking? No melody will come out. How long will people listen to someone who is completely out of tune? I cancelled the press conference and came back. I addressed one meeting after that because I didn’t want to cancel a pre-scheduled programme.

But what do I see in the newspapers the next day? ‘‘Vajpayee ran away from Lucknow,’’ they wrote. Lucknow is my area. It is my field of action. I have defeated many there and got beaten myself in Lucknow. Why do I need to run away from Lucknow? But newspapers need headlines. They too have their freedom. I don’t speak ill of them but I don’t want to read in tomorrow’s newspapers that Advaniji refused to speak. I hope that is not the case.

Friends, small people cannot do big things. We should play politics but should not forget that we have to build a nation too. We have to walk together. We will fight together and we will triumph.

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