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Sushma hands out unity sermon

Modi with Sushma at the BJP national council on Sunday. (PTI)

New Delhi, March 3: Sushma Swaraj was candid when she listed dos and don’ts that she said BJP leaders and cadres must implement if the party was to have a serious shot at power in 2014.

“Unity and pro-activism” was the mantra for success, the Lok Sabha Opposition leader said, quoting her colleague Ananth Kumar. And no sabotaging of party candidates’ chances, she warned.

Speaking on the political resolution adopted by the party national council today, she said that while people were “awaiting liberation” from the UPA government, the BJP faced a big challenge that it must “confront and accept”.

Sushma said that while she understood the “feelings” of the numerous members and workers who wanted to contest an election, the BJP could choose only one candidate from each constituency.

“This is where a worker is put to the test and judged for how committed he is to the organisation. If he passes the test, his claim can be genuinely considered in the future,” she said. She urged the delegates to resist the temptation to scupper party candidates’ prospects.

“Some feel that ‘This candidate will win and treat the constituency like a borough; so why not finish him off by sabotaging his prospects straightaway?’ The point is that even if a single brick is taken out of a strong structure, it eventually crumbles. Unity is important.”

Sushma added that “pro-activism” came into play in two matters: helping create a favourable atmosphere for the party and poll management. She cited her own experience to illustrate that creating the right atmosphere alone isn’t always enough.

“When I fought a Lok Sabha election in Bellary (against Sonia Gandhi in 1999), I had only 14 days. A newspaper did a survey that showed that 45 per cent of the voters wanted me. Bellary was a Congress stronghold. I lost by 56,000 votes because we did not have booth managers.”

Among the talking points tentatively mentioned in the political resolution were the UPA’s “scams”, security, terrorism and price rise. Hindutva was ignored apart from a stand against demolishing the Ram Setu at Rameswaram.