The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Advani stays, after pat and pinch

New Delhi, June 10: Lal Krishna Advani today withdrew his resignation as BJP president after the party passed a resolution that took back with one hand what it gave with the other.

The resolution lauded Advani’s Pakistan visit as “path-breaking”, expressed happiness that he had raised cross-border terrorism with Pervez Musharraf, appreciated Islamabad’s invitation to him to flag off restoration of the Katas Raj temples but was harsh on Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

It distanced Advani from his written remarks on Jinnah in Karachi and reiterated the RSS-BJP views on Pakistan’s founder.

It said: “Shri Advani welcomed the event in Katas Raj as a good beginning and in that context without describing Mr Jinnah as secular, reminded the people of Pakistan of its founder’s address to the country’s Constituent Assembly in which he had urged full freedom of faith for all its citizens and no discrimination between its citizens on grounds of religion.”

After this “please-Advani” line came the attack on Jinnah: “The BJP reiterates that whatever may have been Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan, the state he founded is theocratic and non-secular, the very idea of Hindus and Muslims being two separate nations is repugnant to it.”

It reaffirmed the BJP’s condemnation of Partition and rejection of the two-nation theory. “There can be no revisiting the reality that Jinnah led a communal agitation.”

The statement is intrinsically dismissive of Advani’s comment that Pakistan is an unalterable fact of history.

Although it does try to justify his remarks on the visit to Jinnah’s mausoleum, the effort is like a leaf in the storm it directed at the Quaid-e-Azam.

Advani had cited Jinnah’s speech on August 11, 1947, as a “classic, a forceful espousal of a secular state” and called him a “great man”.

As the RSS-VHP launched their attack, the BJP’s only defence of Advani’s statement was that it was a “reminder” to Pakistan of its secular underpinnings.

The resolution made it clear Jinnah had founded a theocratic state.

It was released after a half-hour meeting of the central parliamentary board, party office-bearers and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states. After the session, Advani returned home accompanied by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other senior leaders as celebrations erupted outside his residence.

“The matter about which there was a row' has ended,” said the RSS.

“We were not interested in the debate and had sought clarifications as the Jinnah issue had taken a turn which was against our ideology,” spokesman Ram Madhav said.

The resolution went through at least three changes.

To pacify Advani, the first two drafts made no mention of Jinnah but commented on other aspects of the visit.

But the RSS was not happy and the general secretaries 'lukewarm to Advani’s comments in any case ' decided there was no point shooting themselves in the foot.

They saw criticism of Jinnah as the only way out. Sources said the realisation also dawned that if Advani left, the RSS could foist on the party Sanjay Joshi, a general secretary who is the Sangh’s point man and “unacceptable” to them.

The sources added that Advani gave in when he saw he had virtually no support in the party. The choice was either to quit as the party chief and later as the leader of the Opposition or continue on the Sangh’s terms. He opted for the latter.

Email This Page