Debating India

BJP, RSS uniting India: Advani

PTI

Saturday 11 October 2003

Article paru dans le Times of India, ?dition en ligne du 11 octobre 2003.

NEW DELHI: Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani on Saturday criticised political parties that said BJP and RSS ideology was aimed at dividing the nation, and said this notion should be dispelled.

"This ideology (of BJP or RSS) is in fact uniting and strengthening the nation and I believe the thinking of political parties should be shed," he told Doordarshan in an interview to be telecast Sunday.

Asked if RSS, with which he has been associated for a long time, had not become a controversial organisation vis-a-vis Hindu-Muslim relations, the Deputy Prime Minister said that this was due to the leaders of the country not trying to help people form the right opinion.

To a question, Advani disfavoured the practice of turning castes into vote banks and said non-government organisations could play a major role in dealing with issues relating to castes.

In this regard he said that instead of thinking in terms of a clash of civilisations, it should be treated as a competition between civilisations - competition for human progress, greater human harmony - and not for domination.

Advani said that instead of conflict, what was needed was coordination and cooperation to surmount various problems facing the nation.

To questions regarding development, he said that during elections political issues or polarisation on caste lines influence the outcome of the polls, pushing development issues to the backburner.

Advani said that when the country attained independence in 1947, people thought that within ten-fifteen years poverty, backwardness and illiteracy would disappear. Stating that even today none would treat India as a developed nation, he said that describing the country as a developing nation was an euphemism for ’undeveloped’.

Asserting that India had tremendous potential, he said that during the last four to five years the country’s biggest achievement was that its capabilities had been recognised the world over and the Indian diaspora has played a commendable role in this direction.

He also said that the country could transform into a developed nation even before 2020 as it was not impossible to provide every village with roads, drinking water, schools and dispensaries.

Asked about regional imbalances, he said it was indeed a matter of concern and to remove the problem every political party had to do its best.

He said that in a democracy, good governance has to be combined with prudent politics, that is, a politics which people can understand and accept and not opportunism.

"Good governance and development have to be the thrust of political campaign in the future," he said.

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