The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani tips hat to Sangh, stings Singh

Chennai, Sept. 16: When in crisis, humour the enemy within and rip apart the adversary outside. This was L.K. Advani’s strategy when he made the presidential address on the first day of the BJP national executive.

As the ghost of Jinnah and the shadow of the RSS and his own “enemies” in the party lurked on the gathering ' the first since his Pakistan visit ' Advani trod cautiously on the BJP minefield and deflected attention from the war within to the political battle outside.

“Let the message from Chennai go out loud and clear: the directionless, rudderless, indecisive, non-performing Manmohan Singh government has failed the people of India on all fronts,” he said.

The bulk of his address savaged the UPA, Singh and the Left, mollified the RSS, purveyed a stiff message on inner-party discipline and was unapologetic about his Pakistan trip without mentioning Jinnah.

Recalling the genesis of the Jan Sangh and its latter-day avatar, the BJP, Advani recalled that in both cases the RSS was the catalyst.

“Everyone knows that before launching the party (Jan Sangh) in 1951, Dr Mookerjee met then RSS sarsanghchalak Shri Guruji (M.S. Golwalkar) and sought his support' for the new party he was about to found.”

The BJP, he said, was born out of the churning that the “dual-membership” issue created within the Janata Party. It led to the breaking away of the Jan Sangh from the Janata Party government and its re-emergence under a new name.

“Thus, there has always been a symbiotic relationship between the Jan Sangh and the RSS and later between the BJP and RSS,” Advani said.

“Both the organisations have benefited immensely from this relationship and together they have succeeded in bringing our ideology of cultural nationalism to the centre-stage of public life.”

There was more music for the Sangh’s ears. He picked on the terrorist attack on the Ayodhya complex as “reflective of a (Congress) mindset that discriminates between people on grounds of faith and does not regard Hindu sentiment as worthy of consideration”.

Advani expressed “shock” that neither Singh nor Sonia Gandhi nor the Uttar Pradesh chief minister had visited the “Ram temple” after the attack.

He also spoke of the need for debate and discussion in the party without allowing “tolerance of dissent” to descend into a “free-for-all”.

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