Taking an indirect jibe at dynasty politics in the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for a debate on internal democracy within political parties, asserting that the growth of “true democratic spirit” within them is necessary for the country’s future.
Mr Modi said that people should know the existing system in political parties, including how decisions are taken by their leaders.
His remarks were perceived as an indirect reference to the Congress amid reports that its vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, will soon succeed Mrs Sonia Gandhi as the party’s president.
The BJP often accuses the Congress of practising dynasty politics while highlighting how a “samanya karyakarta (party worker)” can reach the top position in the saffron party.
Mr Modi, who briefly addressed the media during BJP’s Diwali Milan event at the party headquarters, said while there are discussions on funding to political parties, there should also be debates on how their leadership is chosen, how the new generation is given opportunities in the organisation, what are the core values and what has been lacking in the organisation.
“Whether democratic values are a part of their (parties) core values or not, should be debated widely… I believe that the development of a true democratic spirit within political parties is necessary not only for the country’s future but also for democracy,” he said.
Earlier, the Prime Minister praised the media for its support to the Swachchh Bharat project and recalled his days at the party headquarters and fondly remembered how he would meet the journalists frequently.
“…tab koi bandhan nahin tha… kathinaiyan nahin thi (those were the day when there was no restriction),” said the Prime Minister, adding that there are practical problems which come in the way of his not being able to meet the media frequently.
He said it is because of the belongingness that some journalists often ask, “Ab to aap milte hi nahin (now you don’t meet us).”
While reminiscing Jan Sangh days, when top leaders and a worker would think alike on many issues, the Prime Minister acknowledged that there are many voices within the BJP.
Earlier, BJP president Amit Shah noted that Diwali marks the beginning of the new year in his home state Gujarat and said that the country has met various challenges successfully during the last year and moved ahead under the Modi government.
“We are entering the new year with a lot of positivity,” said Mr Shah.
The two-phase Gujarat Assembly elections will be held on December 9 and December 14 and the BJP is fighting its toughest battle in Gujarat in the last two decades.