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Advani mantra puzzles party
- Flip-flop on ideology and governance

New Delhi, April 4: BJP president L.K. Advani has left his party members a 'little confused'.

Yesterday, Advani had said his party would have to 'compromise' with its ideology if it aspired to rule and give 'good governance'. Exactly 24 hours later, he declared 'we will come back to power when we get a full mandate to carry out our ideological objectives'.

The BJP president also said the construction of a Ram temple on the 'disputed' site in Ayodhya remains an 'unfulfilled desire', besides giving a clean chit to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and asserting that there was no way the BJP would ever sever ties with the RSS.

Having urged party workers not to articulate their problems through the media ' print or TV ' he gave a series of interviews to television channels. His statements were splashed across TV over the two days the BJP spent to gear up for its silver anniversary celebrations from tomorrow at Ambedkar Stadium here.

Party sources, looking for 'ideological clarity' and a 'sense of political direction' to revive the BJP, said they were a 'little confused'.

Advani had yesterday pulled out one of his own coinages from his bag ' 'de-ideologising governance'. He had used the term during a national executive when the NDA was in power to justify his party indulging in 'five-star culture', as the RSS had alleged.

In an interview to a news channel yesterday, he said the 'five-star' charge appears 'absurd' today because the 'touchstone for judging what is simplicity and austerity also has to change'.

Advani added: 'I feel that everything in the country ought to be five-star, which means it should be excellent. .... The country would benefit in proportion to wider acceptance of this attitude.'

The BJP chief said his party could not carry the ideological baggage of the past if it was to be taken seriously as a party of governance and a leader of a larger coalition.

'Is it not a good ideal that your government should be stable' Either you decide that you are going to be an ideological pressure group, which will remain a pressure group in Indian politics, nothing more, nothing less. But if you aspire to become a ruling party and give good governance to the country, then you must compromise.'

BJP insiders said the RSS had conveyed through 'appropriate' sources that Advani's statements did not go down too well with its leaders.

Today, the BJP leader changed his tune and spoke of how important the Ram temple was to his party's agenda.

Advani stressed that the BJP's commitment to building a temple was 'irreversible'.

'If we had been able to get a renewed mandate in the Lok Sabha, it would have been a few more months that there would be an agreement between Hindus and Muslims in respect of constructing a Ram temple,' he said.

Sources said Advani's unveiling of a statue of Haren Pandya, the anti-Modi politician who was murdered, in Ahmedabad yesterday was being seen as a 'gesture of assurance' to dissidents gunning for the Gujarat chief minister's scalp. He today rubbished the speculation as 'incorrect'.

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