The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sangh sings Sonia praise
- Advice to Pervez to follow example

New Delhi, March 26: Sonia Gandhi has won admirers in the unlikeliest of political and geographical corners with her twin resignations ' in the Sangh and in Pakistan.

“The decision, taken in the wake of the controversy on office of profit, is a clever move and reflects her maturity in politics,” said M.G. Vaidya, senior RSS ideologue, in a signed article.

Writing in the Marathi daily Tarun Bharat, Vaidya, a former spokesperson, added: “Those terming her decision drama should seek resignations from their MPs who also face similar charges.”

The BJP had described her resignations as drama, which leaves little doubt who Vaidya has in mind.

In response to the article, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar said: “Vaidyaji is a senior writer and he can express whatever he thinks through his writings. But we also have the freedom to disagree completely with him.”

It is little surprise that the BJP would be bristling at Vaidya’s advice. But no official response was available to gauge the measure of irritation a similar advice from Pakistan’s Islamist alliance would have caused to General Pervez Musharraf.

“President Musharraf should learn a lesson from Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s resignation from the Lok Sabha,” Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the Muttahida Majlis Amal general secretary, said in Peshawar.

Rehman called upon him to step down as army chief as well as President and contest elections.

Back home her resignations have brought into focus the difference of opinion between the Sangh and the BJP, one of whose leading lights, Sushma Swaraj, mounted a vicious attack on Sonia in Guwahati.

Earlier, Sushma had threatened to bring calamity upon her own head ' such as shaving her hair off ' if Sonia became Prime Minister in 2004. There is a view in the BJP that opposing Sonia’s appointment as Prime Minister was a mistake.

“I may be in a minority, but the fact is that we did her a favour by opposing her appointment as PM. We should have let her make mistakes and then mobilised public opinion. Imagine what we could have done if the Indo-US nuclear deal was signed with Sonia as PM. The foreigner issue would have become far more useful,” said a senior BJP leader.

Such a view would suggest that at that time and even in the current controversy over office of profit, the BJP might have committed a blunder by creating the opportunity for Sonia to make a “sacrifice”.

Vaidya believes Sonia’s decision has added to her popularity. “Quitting the NAC (National Advisory Council) would have served its purpose. But resigning both from the Lok Sabha and the NAC reflects her political maturity.”

He questioned the BJP’s strategy. “Sonia has quit the Lok Sabha and not taken political sanyas as she is re-contesting from Rae Bareli,” Vaidya said.

The BJP’s strategy after Sonia resigned was calculated not to focus as much on her resignations as on the government’s eagerness to bail her out through an ordinance.

Lal Krishna Advani’s slogan was: “Everything else is an excuse, Sonia must be saved.”

Given the bitter relations between the Sangh and Advani, who led the BJP’s assault on the government and the Congress on the issue, it is possible Vaidya’s sermon is meant for the former BJP president.

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