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BJP invokes Gandhi to tide over slowdown

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

LK Advani

Nagpur meet to finalise party’s strategy for coming elections.

The three-day conclave of the invoking Mahatma Gandhi to moot a new “indigenous” economic order based on his principles to deal with the current economic slowdown.

“The fall of Communism and now the crisis of capitalism in the entire world reminds us of what Bapu said 100 years ago. Perhaps time has come to act in accordance with Bapu’s ideas,” Singh said in his inaugural address at the party’s National Executive here.

Asserting that Gandhian values “are becoming more and more relevant today” at social, diplomatic and economic levels, he said, “We will have to think of a new model for India which imitates neither the USSR nor the US. While India develops, it has to show to the world the path of development thought of by thinkers like Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.”

He said the basic Indian model propounded by Gandhi and Upadhyaya “was based on decentralisation of industries and compatibility between capital and labour.”

Singh, who addressed the 200-member National Executive Committee, one of the most important decision-making bodies of the party, picked holes in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s policies on all fronts.

“They are confused on leadership while we have already announced LK Advani as our prime ministerial candidate,’ he said. He also praised the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the BJP, for remaining the most stable pre-poll alliance. The Congress-led UPA, he said, split often and was a post-election alliance.

However, the BJP’s main agenda — how to work at the ground level to win the coming general elections, will be discussed during the next two days at a meeting of the 2,000-member National Council. The council is expected to adopt several resolutions on political and economic issues facing the country. These, in turn, will form the basis of the party’s election manifesto.

The meeting is also likely to pass resolutions on the plight of the country’s farmers as well as Indo-Sri Lanka relations in the light of the recent war in the island nation’s northern areas.

The party’s central leaders will also hold closed-door meetings with state leaders to discuss the candidates for the Lok Sabha elections.

The BJP is buoyed by its recent successes in Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jammu & Kashmir. However, as Singh admitted today, the party is yet to get over the shock of humiliating defeats in Delhi and Rajasthan.

At its Nagpur deliberations, the party is also likely to unroll a plan to decentralise the election management system, which will enable Advani’s team of indispensable election managers — comprising second-rung leaders like Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu — to contest the Lok Sabha elections.

Each of them would be given charge of states adjoining their constituencies. Swaraj has already declared that she will contest from Bhopal.

First Published: Sat, February 07 2009. 00:56 IST