“Garibi Hatao” just got a re-launched with the BJP formulating a transformative exercise aimed at showcasing the party’s “pro-poor, pro-deprived sections, pro-Dalit, pro-Adivasi” credentials in the next year that coincides with its ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay’s birth centenary celebrations.
“Antyodaya (empowerment of the last man in the last row)” and “Garib Kalyan” are the BJP’s replacements for “Garibi Hatao” of yesteryear politics.Muslim outreach
The repackaging of Brand BJP as the purveyor of social justice and empowerment also had a new formulation for another section, the Muslims, whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted are not “vote banks”. Nor were they to be “appeased or humiliated”.
The Muslims are, said Modi quoting Upadhyay, “are our own”, they ought to be “empowered”. This seemed to be another significant “misunderstanding” of the BJP’s attitude and philosophy vis-a-vis India’s largest minority, which the PM sought to correct.
“There are people who misunderstand and those who deliberately try to misrepresent us. On the subject of Muslims, Deen Dayalji had very clear views. These days, there is an atmosphere because of a twisted definition of secularism in our country where even patriotism is slandered. Deen Dayalji said Muslims need not be appeased or rebuked. They should not be treated as vote banks in a market. They are our own and should be empowered,” he said.
Modi made these remarks while inaugurating Upadhyay’s birth centenary celebrations at the BJP’s national council meeting here on Sunday. A formal resolution was adopted at the national council which celebrates the year as “Garib Kalyan Varsh”.
Like the renaming of the road that houses the Indian Prime Minister from Race Course Road to Lok Kalyan Marg last week, a move that symbolises the country’s “return to the Bharatiya roots”, “Garib Kalyan” is now the new mantra for policymaking under BJP’s leadership.
“Calicut of yesterday became Kozhikode of today, symbolising a return to its roots. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh of yesterday became the BJP of today and we have come to this city because we want to reaffirm our commitment to our ideological moorings. Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay said politics should be rooted in India’s roots.
“We want to give a new life to that mantra… The basic character of our party is to work towards Jan Kalyan, politics for us is not the end, it the means to Antyodaya, towards Lok Kalyan,” said Modi.
As the programme coordinator for the national council, BJP leader Vinay Sahastrabudhe, pointed out, “Garib Kalyan” is Modi’s new formulation in the political lexicon just as “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” was formulated by Lal Bahadur Shastri and “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan and Jai Vigyan” which was popularised by Atal Behari Vajpayee.
“Narendra Modi is the architect of Indian aspiration. He has democratised aspiration in India. Political lexicon now has a new formulation called Garib Kalyan,” Sahastrabudhe said.
“Garib Kalyan” is thus the BJP’s answer to barbs from the Opposition, especially Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who made a famous reference to the BJP running a “suit-boot ki sarkar”, a snide reference to the expensive suit donned by the PM during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Delhi.
It is also an effort to reach out to the deprived sections, especially Dalits, who have been agitating in different parts of the country following incidents of violence against cow slaughter by self-proclaimedgau rakshaks.
The PM made references to the Dalit, peedit, shoshit varg, kisan aur majdoor (the Dalits, oppressed, farmer and the daily wage labourer) at least four times in his speech.
“The welfare of Dalit, peedit, shoshit varg, kisan aur majdoor is our commitment. It is not a mere slogan for the BJP,” said Modi.
The PM, who is a big advocate of holding simultaneous elections for Parliament and State legislatures, said the time has come for big electoral reforms in India.
“In our country there needs to be a wide debate on electoral reforms. We have a large democracy and there are many issues in the electoral process that need to be reformed. What happens when there are elections of one kind or the other every year? Or there are rules that do not make sense in the current context, the use of money power. It is the need of the hour to reform our electoral process and make it commensurate with the current context,” he said.
“In the birth centenary year of Deen Dayal Upadhyay, can the party not hold seminars across the country on this issue? It shouldn’t be that I said something and it gets done. Democracies don’t function like that nor should they. Let there be a churning and let us see what comes out of it. The time has come,” he added.