Debating India

ADVANI

A mastershow or political suicide?

Tuesday 7 June 2005, by MUKHIA*Sudeep

Advani’s decison to resign has all the signs of the stroke of a political master. Ostensibly, he put in his papers as the BJP party president to protest the pressure on him to withdraw his remarks calling Jinnah a ’great, secular leader’. The Sangh Parivar greeted Advani with black banners, denouncing his statement. The VHP, keeping in character, called him a traitor to the Hindu cause. Advani came back to India on Monday and said let’s debate this whole issue.

The Parivar was in no mood to debate anything, which is understandable since Advani’s praise for Jinnah jeopardises one of the main populist planks of the RSS. The pressure from the Parivar was on him: Advani was asked on Monday night by the RSS chief to "withdraw" his Jinnah statement.

Curiously, Advani’s resignation letter was written before he left Karachi, making it clear that he was anticipating a strong reaction to his statement. Now, there are two ways of looking at the statement itself. Either Advani, in the emotion of the moment, sort of shot his mouth off about Jinnah and then decided to stick to his statement. This is highly unlikely, given his track record. Or, he had this planned throughout, to provoke the reaction that he did. Either way, he has come out on top.

See online : The Times of India

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