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Kulkarni’s exit, a respite for Advani

Tuesday 5 July 2005, by VYAS*Neena

``Now BJP hopes to negotiate with RSS"

Will not cooperate with the BJP unless it has pro-Hindu leadership What was offered was a chicken not a lamb Kulkarni was a nobody and what he said or did not say about VHP will not affect people

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party is hoping that it will be "curtains down" on "the Advani affair" by Wednesday when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s ongoing Surat meeting of `prant pracharaks’ [State organisers] comes to an end.

In the aftermath of Sunday’s resignation by Sudheendra Kulkarni, BJP president L.K. Advani’s aide, from the post of national secretary, the party is hopeful of being able to successfully negotiate with RSS leaders for "some more time" for Mr. Advani to continue to hold the dual charge of party president and the Leader of the Opposition.

The BJP informally indicated on Monday that the Kulkarni resignation had somewhat propitiated the RSS bosses and could help buy time for Mr. Advani till the end of the year, when the National Council session will be held in Mumbai, or longer if the party did well in the Bihar Assembly elections expected to be held in September-October.

"Not pro-Hindutva"

However, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Giriraj Kishore on Monday said that his organisation "did not consider Mr. Advani to be pro-Hindutva" and that "it would not cooperate and coordinate with the BJP unless it has a pro-Hindu leadership."

At a press conference here, Acharya Kishore said the "VHP had set up an advisory council of senior leaders with the idea that the experience and suggestions of elders who have worked with the organisation for decades should be available to it, while, at the same time, a younger leadership should emerge."

In what seemed like a dig at the BJP, he added: "We have done it. As for the BJP, let it think for itself what it wants to do [about bringing in a younger leadership]." Asked whether the VHP was "satisfied" with the offer of this "sacrificial lamb" [Mr. Kulkarni’s resignation] and whether the outfit would now stop demanding Mr. Advani’s resignation, Acharya Kishore said: "Which sacrificial lamb? A lamb is a comparatively large animal, what was offered was a chicken."

He made it clear that Mr. Kulkarni was a "nobody" and what he said or did not say about the VHP [he had advised Mr. Advani to distance itself from the "extremist organisation"] would have no effect on the people. "Who has heard of Mr. Kulkarni? Who cares what he says?" As for demanding Mr. Advani’s resignation, he said he was not talking about the BJP leader as an individual but on the issue of commitment to ideology and principles.

The recent crisis and the debate in the BJP was "not about Mr. Kulkarni ... was he the subject of the debate ... the subject was the party’s leadership. From the time of the Jana Sangh there is a rule [in the Sangh Parivar]: one man one post," Acharya Kishore said, hinting that the crux of the problem between the RSS leadership and Mr. Advani was not the "Jinnah is secular" remark of the BJP chief during his Pakistan visit, but his holding two positions and not willing to give up either.

* * * I am not behind Advani’s speech, says Kulkarni

Sudheendra Kulkarni, who resigned from all party posts of the BJP, has rejected the charge by sections within the Sangh Parivar that he was behind the party president L.K. Advani’s controversial speech on Pakistan founder Mohd. Ali Jinnah. "Whatever I did was under instructions from Mr. Advani," Mr. Kulkarni said here.

He said he had been instructed by Mr. Advani, prior to his visit to Pakistan, to get the complete text of Jinnah’s August 11, 1947 speech and he carried out the directive.

Mr. Kulkarni also wondered how his paper presented at a private function in Bhopal and his communication to Mr. Advani had got leaked out. "I don’t know who is responsible," he said. — PTI

See online : The Hindu

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