New Delhi: BJP president Rajnath Singh's speech at the party's national council meeting here Saturday appeared to have little by way of new ideas or demands to catch popular imagination but he spoke with ease and command.
Among the new demands the new party chief made were for India to take initiative for tripartite water treaty with China and Bangladesh over the Brahmaputra river.
He also demanded that seats reserved for PoK residents in Jammu and Kashmir assembly be filled by refugees and Kashmiri Pandits.
Rajnath Singh, considered close to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), spoke of several issues associated with the RSS including illegal migration into the northeastern region.
He also sought to reclaim BJP's aggressive pitch on the issue of internal security in the wake of last month's bomb blasts in Hyderabad.
Rajnath Singh said while leaders of the United States and Israel talked in terms of annihilating terrorists who target them, India responded to cross-border terrorism by telling Pakistan that it would not play cricket.
'Corruption will annihilate Congress'
Rajnath Singh took a dig at the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on the issue of corruption by invoking names of mythological figures such as Lord Ram and Lord Krishna. He said the first letters of the names had significance.
"Ravan was killed by Lord Ram. Kans by Lord Krishna. Osama was killed by pursuit of Obama. Corruption will definitely annihilate the Congress," he said.
Rajnath bows to Advani
There was an odd moment as BJP veteran L.K. Advani was not among those greeted during the first round of introductions. Party leader Thawarchand Gehlot, who was conducting proceedings at the beginning, immediately made amends and announced Rajnath Singh would greet Advani. The BJP chief bowed to touch Advani's feet in a gesture of reverence.
While Advani earned effusive praise from Rajnath Singh for his long years of work for the organisation and his ability to steer the party out of crisis, the day belonged to Gujarat Chief Minister Narenndra Modi.
Modi's name evoked loudest cheer from the party rank and file. Gujarat's success story was mentioned by several speakers.
While BJP leaders targeted the UPA government over "corruption and price rise", there were no sharp verbal attacks on Congress' top leaders Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
Rajnath Singh mentioned Rahul Gandhi in the context of Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's "Hindu terror" remark.