Debating India


"It is for us to decide our leader"

Thursday 16 June 2005

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party has dismissed the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s demand that its president, L.K. Advani, retire from politics for his statements on Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

``We are capable of running our own affairs. Let them not take pains in this regard. We are a democratic and nationalistic party. It is for us in the party to decide who should be our president,’’ BJP vice-president M. Venkaiah Naidu told mediapersons here on Wednesday.

Mr Advani withdrew his resignation ``only’’ at the request of the entire party. ``So there is no question of his resigning now,’’ Mr. Naidu said.

Describing the debate on Jinnah as a ``closed chapter,’’ he said there was a detailed discussion in the party and a statement issued. ``Shri Advani never said that Jinnah was secular. The BJP’s views were reflected in the statement, after a meeting was presided [over] by Shri Advani himself,’’ Mr. Naidu said. The former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was present at the meeting.

The BJP never accepted the two-nation theory ``propounded by Jinnah and endorsed by the British colonialists,’’ Mr. Naidu said. ``The party is clear that Jinnah founded a theocratic State, which is non-secular even today.’’

To a question why the party resolution condemned Jinnah if it had clarified its position to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, he said a ``wrong interpretation’’ of Mr. Advani’s remarks was given in the press. ``Certain people were misled [by such an interpretation]. So we were duty-bound to give a public clarification.’’

Asked why the party was shying away from a debate suggested by Mr. Advani himself, he said ``we have better things to do. As a progressive party, we want to move forward. If some people want to have a debate, let them have it. But we are very clear that the issue is closed.’’

See online : The Hindu

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