The Lotus Shall Bloom

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– Atal Bihari Vajpayee

As a result of several rounds of talks between the Central Government and leaders of the movement, differences have already narrowed and now the deadlock centres round the future of foreigners coming between 1961 and 1971. The Government is not ready to settle them outside the State, whereas the agitation leaders do not consider it feasible and desirable to put the entire burden on their State.

Both sides should soften their stiff stand and adopt a via media in relation to the identification and deletion of the names of those who entered the state between 1961 and 1971. The question whether such people should be allowed to live in Assam or settled in other States should be left to the new Government elected on the basis of a new voters’ list.

Discuss Present Government

The present government in Assam has been formed to fulfil a constitutional obligation. But there is no constitutional and moral propriety of expediency in continuing it. Hence, it should be dismissed immediately.

Repression won’t do

The mass movement of Assam cannot be suppressed with bullets or arrests. It is suicidal to deal with a movement, with which almost every Assamese man, woman and child is emotionally linked, as a purely law and order issue. The path of repression is not the path of peace.

Politicians Encouraging Infiltration

The responsibility for the present situation in Assam rests on those political leaders who, out of selfish motive, not only turned a blind eye to foreign infiltration, but were also guilty of encouraging it. The soul of Assam is already beset with many wounds. The rest of India, by its indifference and the central leadership, by its short- sightedness, should not commit the sin of its complete destruction.

Economic Situation-1977 and 1980

The responsibility for the present economic crisis in the country lies squarely on the policies, or absence of policies, of the present Government. In China, they have a habit of naming their years. One is called the Year of the Moon, another the Year of the Lion, and so on. If we were to emulate their practice, Smt. Gandhi’s first year in office would be remembered as the Year of the Snail. Nothing moved during the year. It was as if time had stood still. In contrast, the Janata Government’s two years were really years of the Galloping Horse!

Slow pace of Development

The worst aspect of this economic stagnancy is that the Government did not even know that things had stopped moving. Finance Minister Venkataraman kept on changing his figures. He began by saying while presenting his disastrous budget-that industrial production would go up by 8 to 10 per cent. He has now admitted that it may be no more than 4 per cent. As usual, he is wrong. In fact, industrial production may be just 2 per cent more than last year.

Soaring Inflation

One of the major election planks of this Government was: Curbing inflation. But the only two things that have gone up during the Congress regime are prices, and the share market. Everything else has been going down and down. During the Janata regime, national income went up by 6.2 per cent. This year the increase may not be more than 3 per cent. Industrial production during the Janata regime was 5.5 per cent a year. This year, it will be less than two per cent. Again during the Janata regime, prices were stablised; the increase was only nominal. This year, they have gone up by 20 per cent, and are still going up.

The Prime Minister says she had handed to the Janata Government a sound economy but that the Janata made a mess of it. She forgets that there was a drought in 1976-77, a year before Janata came to power. Then, there was a drought last year. Even then we did very well and the economy expanded. Now it is the other way round.

Falling Foreign Exchange Reserves

A good economy almost always results in good foreign exchange reserves. During the Janata years, the reserves went up by Rs. 2350 crore and when we left the Government, the reserves stood at Rs. 5200 crore. Since then they have been coming down by as much as Rs. 600 crore per year. The nation’s wealth is being squandered.
We hear a great deal these days about the Sixth Plan. The Planning Commission boasts of having drawn up the Plan in a jiffy. Actually, all they have done is to chop and change the old Plan prepared by the Janata and present it as a new Plan. That is of course excusable. But what is going to happen now, and which can never be condoned, is that the Plan itself will be scrapped, because the way the prices are going up the Plan will be no more than a paper doll.

Let us not delude ourselves into thinking that India is among the top ten industrial countries of the world. Why should a big country like India be among the top ten, and not among the top five? The world is moving ahead much faster than we are. Even small countries like South Korea have left us far behind. A nation’s economy is like a man on a bicycle: if you stop pedalling, you fall down. This Government stopped pedalling long ago, and is about to fall.

At the Crossroads

However, one need not be much concerned about the question whether this Government will fall or survive. In a democracy, Governments will come and Governments will go. The pertinent question really is: Will India be able to face the present challenges successfully on the basis of its value-system and be able to build a new future for itself?

Friends, the situation is grave. The country is once again standing at the cross-roads of destiny. On one side, we can see clearly the threat of authoritarianism; on the other, we can also perceive the dangers of anarchy. We have to prepare the people to face these twin dangers. The BJP does not favour the politics of confrontation, but at the same time we would never shy away from confrontation, if the situation so demands.

Democracy Must be Defended The soul of Indian democracy dwells in the intense desire of our 650 million people for equality and for freedom from exploitation. Those who keep thinking of devising ways to destroy or debilitate democracy can do so only at the risk of being swept away by the fury of the people.

Change the Status Quo

In our struggle for the restoration of moral values and in defence of democracy, let us involve the farmers, the workers, the rural poor, the artisans, the youth, the students and the women and create in them the realisation that their conditions would improve only if they exert in a corporate manner to change the status quo.

A Call for Relentless Struggle for Democracy and Social Justice

The BJP is resolved to devote itself to politics rooted in the soil. Only by that course can we restore the confidence of the people in politics, political parties and political leaders. The days of summit politics are over. Manipulative politics also has no future. There is no place in BJP for people madly in pursuit of post, postion and pelf. Those who lack courage or self-respect may go and prostrate themselves at the Delhi Durbar. So far as we are concerned, we are determined to wage a relentless struggle against the dangers I have indicated. With the Constitution of India in one hand and the banner of equality in the other, let us get set for the struggle. Let us take inspiration from the life and struggle of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Let Mahatma Phule be our guide in our crusade for social justice.

The Lotus shall Bloom

Standing on the shores of this ocean beneath the Western ghats, I can say this with confidence about the future: Darkness will be dispelled, the Sun will rise and the Lotus shall bloom!
Vande Mataram!


(Presidential address of
Shri Atal Bihari Vajpeyee
at BJP National Council,
Bombay, 28-December, 1980)