New Delhi, Mar 10 (UNI) Leader of the Opposition and senior BJP leader L K Advani today said the Opposition welcomed and would not scoff at Finance Minister P Chidambaram's pronouncements that India was on the path of achieving a ten per cent growth rate.
Taking part in the two-day 'India Today' Conclave 2006, Mr Advani argued that polticial parties needed to work together with a broad understanding of taking the country on the path of development rather than the ruling party treating the Opposition as an 'enemy'.
When the Finance Minister under the NDA regime announced that the country was on the path of achieving an eight per cent growth rate, then Leader of Opposition Sonia Gandhi had dubbed the predictions as 'Mungheri Lal ka hassen sapney' (Mungheri Lal's day dreams) in her speech in Parliament. The country had achieved eight per cent growth in the year the NDA demitted office. The growth has continued at this rate. ''Now our FM says India is on the path of achieving ten per cent growth. We don't scoff at his statement but welcome it because it is in our national interest. India can achieve this goal'', he said.
He said the 'political culture' propounded by the NDA during its six years in office was contrary to the culture exhibited by the UPA regime. The NDA gracefully acknowledged the contributions of the previous regime headed by Mr P V Narasimha Rao in which, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the Finance Minister.
The six year Vajpayee Government had contributed a lot to the national progress despite being a 23 party coalition. Its contributions were not confined to the development of infrastructure within the country and were acknowledged by the world, which saw India as an emerging economic power. The success of the NDA coalition was in bringing all parties together on the issue of determining 'credible nuclear deterrance'.
But after the Congress led UPA came to power, he had not seen a single statement from any leader in the Government acknowledging the Vajpayee Government's positive contributions to take initiatives to bring down the level of poverty and take the country to a higher trajectory growth level, he lamented.
He said the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the previous 'avatar' of the BJP, joined hands unhesitatingly with the Communist Party of India when the Samyukt Vidhayak Dal Governments came to power in several states despite the opposition from within the Jan Sangh cadres who did not want to have anything to do with the Communists. The BJP, he said, did not believe in political untouchablity. But for other parties, especially the Communists, practicing political untouchability has become a virtue.
Mr Advani accused the Left parties of 'cleverly' exploiting the religious sentiments against the Danish cartoons and combining it with US President George Bush's visit, although they were the principle supporters of the UPA coalition. The Communists, who dreamt of communism sweeping the world, stood washed out in the world scenario but existed in two corners of India -- West Bengal and Kerala. ''But former West Bengal Chief Minister (Jyoti Basu) preferred to discuss the failures of the V P Singh Government, at a 'secret lunch-on' at the residence of an Industrialist, rather than having open meetings at Mr Vajpayee's or my residence'', he said.
The Congress which governed the country for the maximum period after independence, was obsessed with 'one family' and a group of MPs would frown at anybody who even took the name of a person. ''It becomes unparliamentary reference if one were to take one name in Parliament'', he said.
He said India was a sucessful tolerant democracy not merely because of 'western fad' of Jawaharlal Nehru but because of tolerant Hindu ethos. The western observers at that point of time not merely asked the question. He said that going by the debates in the Constitutent Assembly, the Constitution makers hoped India would develop a two party system. This might not have been a reality but it was certainly a bi-polar polity, he said.
Answering a question about having simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and Assemblies, he said the polls since 1952 to 1971 used to be held together allowing sufficient time for development but after the link got cut off, there were major elections in one corner or the other, jeopardising the effective implementation of electoral laws.