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Sena puts BJP on notice

New Delhi, June 18: The BJP today came under fire from its oldest ally, Bal Thackeray, and former ideologue K.N. Govindacharya over L.K. Advani’s recent statements in Pakistan.

While the Shiv Sena chief hinted that his party might part ways with the BJP because of the latter’s “ideological confusion on the issue of Jinnah”, Govindacharya targeted the BJP president first and then the party.

In a front-page interview in the Sena mouthpiece, Saamna, Thackeray said: “We share a friendship with BJP on the issue of Hindutva' we hope a time does not come when unfortunately we have to say there ‘was’ a friendship between Sena and the BJP.”

He argued Jinnah cannot be described as “secular” because he never condemned the communal violence before or after Partition. “Jinnah was a man who played double roles'. When the Partition bloodbath was on, I don’t remember him asking it to be stopped,” Thackeray said.

“His first speech (which Advani had described as “secular”) in the Pakistan Assembly as the Prime Minister (sic.) was pure whitewash.'” Jinnah was governor-general of Pakistan, not Prime Minister.

Among the NDA constituents, while the Janata Dal (United), Telugu Desam Party and the Trinamul Congress have welcomed Advani’s comments, the Akali Dal and the Biju Janata Dal have kept silent.

Accepting that the Sena was the BJP’s oldest and ideologically closest ally, a BJP general secretary said: “We ourselves are confused about the shape and direction the BJP will take in the near future ' if it will be liberal-secular or go back to Hindutva. The alliance with the Sena will depend on (this).”

Govindacharya ' who as Advani’s political secretary had conceived of and planned the Ram rath yatra of 1990 ' slammed the BJP chief for invoking the name of the Jan Sangh ideologue, Deendayal Upadhyaya, to justify his observations on Jinnah.

His statement today said: “Pandit Deen Dayalji always considered undivided India as an established fact and throughout his life he remained dedicated to this thought... His faith was not a trick of gaining political vote bank'”

Govindacharya drew a distinction between what Upadhyaya and Advani meant when they spoke of “associating ourselves with the people of Pakistan”.

“If Deen Dayalji said that Mohammed Panthi (those who follow the Prophet Mohammad) Hindus are called Muslims, then he means something else. If he said we have to associate ourselves with the people of Pakistan with indifference to their political leadership, it has a different meaning altogether. This is not the surrender of one’s existence but a tactful expression of one’s courage.”

His conclusion was while Upadhyaya was a “courageous visionary”, Advani’s attitude was that of a “politician who rashfully tries to acquire power by reshaping his image”.

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