Enthused by the third consecutive election victory of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and with new president Rajnath Singh at the helm, the BJP on Saturday displayed new vigour to take on the Congress-led UPA in the next general election on the plank of good governance.
Amid clamour in the party for Modi as the prime ministerial candidate, the Gujarat strongman was the most popular leader at the BJP National Council conclave going by the thunderous applause he received from the Council members, numbering around 2,200, each time his name was mentioned.
In keeping with the mood, Singh accorded Modi a special welcome at the two-day conclave that began in New Delhi on Saturday and asked the members to give him a standing ovation.
Though BJP will not be making any announcement at the conclave of any central role for Modi, it is clear that the party realises his charisma and intends to encash it during the Lok Sabha elections due in 2014.
Sources said Modi and and his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chouhan may be inducted into the Parliamentary Board. Modi may also play a key role in the BJP's election campaign for the Lok Sabha polls.
Singh, who took over as party president in January, minced no words in hitting out at the Congress-led government on issues like internal security and terrorism, corruption and state of the economy, foreign policy- especially relations with Pakistan and China, and issues related to farmers.
He asked his party to shun all differences, clamour for posts and unitedly fight to oust Congress from power.
Rajnath Singh alleged that the UPA government was mired in corruption. "Just as Ram killed Ravan, Krishna killed Kansa, Obama killed Osama, corruption we believe will kill the Congress," he said.
The BJP chief also raked up issues dear to the Sangh Parivar, from Ram Setu and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s controversial remarks about Hindu terror to the Maha Kumbh and Hindutva being a way of life.
The BJP also hit out at Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for his 'Hindu terror' remarks, saying they were made under a 'pre-planned conspiracy'.
"The remarks were made not by mistake but under a well-planned conspiracy," Singh said and accused the Congress of indulging in vote bank politics for the last over six decades.
BJP passed a Economic Resolution in which it lambasted the Congress for failing to control inflation and indulging in corruption.
"Inflation and corruption have become the hallmarks of the UPA government. The country also has to suffer the ignominy of experiencing economic downslide under the leadership of the economist Prime Minister under whom every economic macro-parameter has steadily declined," the party said.
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the conclave that if BJP comes to power it should reverse the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail as the policy will bring "economic upheaval". The small trader constitutes a loyal votebank of the party.
BJP also promised to form a separate state of Telangana in no time once it is voted to power.
The resolution highlighted the failures of the UPA government in controlling inflation, being engaged in a series of corruption scams, wrong agricultural policies which were forcing the farmers to commit suicide, and heaping praise on the erstwhile NDA government for its economic achievements.
The right-wing party intends to take on the Congress-led UPA on these issues in the next general election.
Singh charged that the government lacked willpower and determination to deal with these issues.
Modi was the flavour of the conclave with several leaders praising him.
"He made a hat-trick. We were delighted to hear about his victory. We had never seen a BJP chief minister winning three consecutive terms. His development model has been lauded by all, even at the international forum. Be it the US or the European Union all have praised his good governance," Rajnath Singh said in his inaugural address.
"It won't be proper to welcome Modi with mere words. He deserves a good round of applause, a standing ovation," the BJP president said. He garlanded Modi amid slogan shouting by enthusiastic party members.
The party top brass, comprising of Central leaders as well as chief ministers seated on the dais, were on their feet and and clapped for Modi.
Though Singh tried a balancing act towards the end of his speech by praising other chief ministers, Modi appeared to be the favourite with the crowd.
The BJP president said he was confident that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his Chhattisgarh counterpart Raman Singh will also win three consecutive elections when assembly polls are held later this year in the two states.
Singh also exhorted party leaders assembled at the National Council, which is meeting to chalk out its roadmap for the upcoming Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Delhi and Jharkhand, as well as the general elections slated for 2014, to bury their differences and fight unitedly.
The party has clarified that a decision on who should be made the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate will be taken at an appropriate time by the Parliamentary Board.
Some of the top party leaders as well as allies like JD(U) are opposed to Modi being the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP and the NDA.