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Text of Sudheendra Kulkarni’s resignation

Friday 1 July 2005

Aadaraneeya Shri Lalii,

The developments of the past week, since I left Delhi to come to Bombay, have brought a wholly new experience to me. My Bhopal paper was unrelated to your Pakistan visit. By publishing it now, The Indian Express added a new dimension to the debate. This has great potential to further reinforce misunderstanding about me within the party and the wider "Parivar" circles. However, since I fully stand by the views I have expressed in the paper (which I did not on my own disclose to the media), and since I am also convinced that they are in consonance with the basic philosophy bf the party, I am at peace with myself.

Nevertheless, I wish to reiterate that I am prepared, with equal equanimity of mind and with undiminished loyalty to the party, to step down as a member of the team of officer-bearers if that is my senior colleagues want. I shall continue to work for you as an ordinary worker of the party. Please give a thought to this from the standpoint of what is good for t6he party.

Having said this, I wish to convey a few thoughts and suggestions to you.

The present chaotic and unsettled atmosphere in the party should not disturb you at all. You are on the right track. Others will realize it in course of time. You are in a unique position today to re-orient the party- and also the larger polity in the country- in alignment with India’s long-term national interests. Creating a strong, effective and durable Congress (ideologically bankrupt and enslaved to the present visionless dynastic leadership) is the first pre-requisite to bringing about this realignment. The BJP alone can be this alternative. There are four imperatives for this goal to be realized.

1. The BJP-PSS relationship will have to be recast. The RSS should not micro-manage the affairs of the party. It must, especially, not make any public comments on the top leaders of the party. The RSS must realize that the people of India do not like to see their leaders remote controlled by an external entity. India needs the RSS, no doubt about it. However, the RSS must focus on giving strategic guidance to the Hindu society and on creating men and women of vision and character to take up leadership positions at different levels and in diverse areas of nation-building.

In this context, I have a specific suggestion: Please proactively approach the RSS leaders and tell them to have Faith in You. There can be no essential difference between you are pursuing and what an enlightened understanding of the RSS ideology mandates.

2. The BJP must distance itself completely from extremist elements in the VHP, who have derailed the Hindu movement, brought a bad name to the BJP, and weakened the larger nationalist cause.

3. The party must make concerted and Principled attempts to reach out to Indian Muslims. The fear that this would displease our "core voters" is misplaced. In any case, isn’t it our duty to change the mindset of our "core voters"? We may not get substantial Muslim support, but our sincere and sustained effort itself will make a winning difference. Let us employ this approach in Bihar elections and see the results.

4. The present ideological and organizational disarray in the BJP should be set right as early as possible. Our cadres, our supporters and the people at large should know what we really stand for. We must reassert that the BIP is a party with a difference in that it stands for resurgent nationalism, strengthening of democracy, faster all-round development with a pro-poor thrust, good governance and probity in public life.

You, more than anyone else in the party or the country today, can espouse these ideas powerfully and credibly. In the days and months to come, you should articulate these the same passion, conviction and consistency (the passion, conviction and consistency of a destiny-driven man) that were so strikingly evident in all your activities and communication in Pakistan.

I have no doubt that when you begin to do so, you’ll begin to create a new atmosphere and new "electricity" in the country- something akin to what you described about the initial unexpected public response to your Ram Rath Yatra.

This wave of positive ideas, positive emotions and positive agenda for India’s future will sweep away the Congress party in the next elections.

However, this will not be our goal, it will be the effect of the larger goal that we’ll be pursuing.

My specific suggestions are two:

Should call some 50-100 important leaders of the party (singly, in small groups and in bigger informal forums) for a candid exchange of views on what the larger goal of the party is and for conveying to them how you wish to steer the party towards that goal. The top layer of the party must be energized in order to change the political situation in the country.

Increasingly, your communication should transcend the party boundaries and reach out to the hearts and minds of the people of India. They are looking for new hope. Provide it, in a manner that JP did 30 years ago. Don’t hesitate to talk about the ills afflicting the party and the political establishment in general. The common man and the intellectual alike like the leader who speaks the truth with courage and conviction.

With deepest regards,

Yours sincerely,

Sudheendra Kulkarni

Bombay

June 24, 2005

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