The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani swipe at ‘secular’ Nehru

Ahmedabad, Jan. 4: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today came down heavily on Jawaharlal Nehru for distorting the concept of secularism. It is the Nehruvian concept of secularism that, he said, has “distorted the true concept of secularism, which is synonymous with Hindutva”.

“India has always been a secular country” but it was Jawaharlal Nehru who, influenced by communist ideology, distorted the meaning of secularism, said the deputy Prime Minister during his address to the BJP state executive meeting in Gandhinagar. Nehru’s followers further distorted and reduced it to appeasement politics, he added.

Advani said the concept of secularism is not an irreligious concept as Nehruvians would like people to believe. “Religion is very much part of our national flag,” he asserted, saying the Ashok Chakra is essentially a symbol of Buddhism.

“But, unfortunately, the pseudo consider Hindutva a religious thing — something objectionable, something that cannot go with secularism — even though a religious symbol (Ashok Chakra) is part of our national flag,” he said.

BJP general secretary and Gujarat in-charge Arun Jaitley said: “Hindutva will not be diluted.” There is no question of backtracking on the Hindutva plank, he said, indicating that this would be the BJP’s main poll plank in other states as well.

Enthused by party’s resounding victory in the Assembly polls in Gujarat, the BJP has set an ambitious goal to double its primary membership by the end of this month.

State BJP vice-president Bhupendra Solanki told newspersons that a political resolution was adopted on establishing “suraj” (good governance) and making Gujarat “progressive, developed and a model state” where there is peace and security.

To achieve these goals, the party plans to launch a membership drive from January 6 to the end of the month. “We intend to increase our party’s primary membership, which is now 11 lakh, to 20 lakh,” Solanki said.

From January 16 to February 11, the party plans to launch another campaign — Chalo Gaon Ki Ore (Lets go to villages) — to highlight the good work done by the Vajpayee government in four years. Every village in the state will be covered by the campaign. MPs, MLAs and other party leaders will lead the campaign, which will be flagged off by Union textiles minister Kashiram Rana.

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