The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sangh do’s and don’ts for Advani

New Delhi, June 21: Recant the statements regretting the Ayodhya demolition and endorsing Partition. Give up either being BJP chief or the leader of Opposition.

And, above all, don’t keep justifying your comments on Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

These are some of the do’s and don’ts the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has lined up for L.K. Advani even as it continues to virtually boycott him.

Sangh sources said it has been made clear to the BJP president that no leader is willing to speak to him and that it is “futile” to send feelers through “back-channel mediators”, as he has reportedly tried to do.

BJP leaders said they have made no effort to intercede on Advani’s behalf with the Sangh.

The only leader who could “soften” the veterans in Nagpur and Delhi’s Jhandewalan is Atal Bihari Vajpayee. “But even he seems rather tentative on how much he should stick his neck out,” a source said.

The Sangh could harden its stand against Advani further at the four-day pranth pracharak baithak (state whole-timers’ conclave) in Surat from July 2.

BJP general secretary (organisation) Sanjay Joshi, a Sangh pracharak, is believed to be gathering feedback from the various state units on the party president’s remarks in Pakistan.

Joshi is expected to pass on his findings ' for instance, on whether Advani’s comments have lowered cadre morale, etc ' to the Sangh before the Surat conclave.

Since the meeting will be attended by swayamsevaks from across the country, the Sangh leaders hope to get an “accurate” assessment from the grassroots on the subject, the sources said.

After this, the Sangh is likely to decide if it should intensify its campaign for Advani’s ouster, both as BJP chief and the leader of Opposition. So far, it has allowed the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to go on the offensive, confining its own response to barbed statements against the BJP president from sarsanghchalak K.S. Sudarshan.

The Surat meet will not pass any resolution against Advani or his recent statements in keeping with the norm that no individual would be criticised or attacked “on record”, the sources said.

Asked what the Sangh expects of Advani now, the sources listed the following:

nHe should stand by the June 10 statement of the BJP parliamentary board, which repudiated the pith of his statements on Jinnah in Karachi. He mustn’t keep justifying his praise of Jinnah

nHe should not speak on secularism

nHe should recant the statement that December 6, 1992, (the day Babri Masjid was pulled down) was the “saddest day of my life”.

“Whether he is a Hindu or not, the fact was that he led the Ram rath yatra which climaxed in this episode. Does he want to obliterate it from his political memory'” a source asked

nHe should disown his description of Pakistan and India as “two sovereign countries” and that of Partition as “an unalterable reality” in his Lahore speech.

nHe should distance himself from and preferably sack the BJP national secretary, Sudheendra Kulkarni, who is believed to have played a major role in Advani’s makeover from a “hawk” to a “dove”

nFor starters, Advani should quit one of the two posts he holds, that of BJP president or that of the leader of Opposition

The sources said the Sangh has not taken kindly to Advani’s comparison of himself to Arjuna and his assertion that he would fight the battle to the last.

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