‘Things are going our way. We can’t afford to commit any mistakes’

He said, ‘Since the BJP and Narendra Modi occupy the centre stage, our mistake will be disproportionately highlighted. BJP must get its act together for the last lap. As the election campaign enters the final stage with the announcement of most of our candidates, the BJP and the NDA are clearly front-runners. We not only have to preserve the lead, but also improve upon it. The front-runners advantage always gets strengthened in the last lap. The party, its workers and sympathizers must all remember that the things are going our way.’

On the contest of Sri Ram Sena chief Pramod Muthalik’s induction and rejection in to the party, he said, ‘What happened in Karnataka on Sunday was highly avoidable. It’s a tribute to the internal democracy within the BJP that most of our leaders and sympathizers spoke in one voice and the mistake was immediately corrected.’

Jaitley, who was broadly picking up various issues across the nation, said, ‘We will address the concerns of the Jammu and Kashmir people through insaniyat (humane approach).

He questioned, ‘During the past few days, I have read statements of various political groups in the Kashmir valley suggesting that the NDA government in the past was more honest in addressing the issues of Jammu and Kashmir than the UPA government. Most of these groups are ideologically opposed to the BJP. Why then should they be more optimistic about the BJP’s sincerity on the issues of Jammu and Kashmir?’

‘Jammu and Kashmir has been integral to BJP’s ideology and the party believes there can be no territorial compromise. We will never allow India’s territory to be bargained or compromised. On the internal dimensions, our approach will be guided by Atal Behari Vajpayee’s pronouncement that all issues will be resolved within the dimension of ‘insaniyat’, the leader of opposition in Rajya sabha said.

Jaitley said he is equally convinced of the need to address the ‘sense of discrimination’ among the people of Jammu, Leh and Ladakh. ‘Within the valley, our approach has to be guided by twin considerations of no concession to the separatists and the sense of concern and compassion of the average Kashmiri. Their quality of life has to be improved and the areas where they feel harassed will have to be addressed. In a fight against separatism, the people of Kashmir valley should be our important allies. Issues of their alienation will have to be addressed without compromising on the basic tenets of our ideology,’ he said.

Jaitley’s statement came after Hurriyat (M) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) praised NDA for taking their issues with honesty. Recently, Mirwaiz Farooq had surprised many in political circles by announcing that the BJP-led NDA took some bold steps for the resolution of the Kashmir problem as compared to the Congress-led UPA. The PDP too has spoken favourably about the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee, Narendra Modi. On India’s security issues especially ahead of the election, Jaitley lambasted the union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde by saying that it is surprising that the political establishment of the Home Ministry recently announced that they had no information about any threat to political leaders, particularly of the BJP during the election campaign.
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