VHP payback in Advani coin - Pseudo-secular label on its inventor

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  • Published 19.11.02

New Delhi, Nov. 19: L.K. Advani’s contribution to the political lexicon — “pseudo-secularism” — returned to haunt him today when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad dubbed him a “pseudo-secularist”.

“Today we are faced with extraordinary circumstances. Yesterday, he (Advani) expressed deep concern about the minorities and secularism. This is pseudo-secularism. Hindus have always been secular, this has been their tradition,” VHP leader Ashok Singhal said.

He was referring to Advani’s statement in the Lok Sabha yesterday that India can never become a Hindu state.

VHP president Vishnu Hari Dalmiya was more candid. “The deputy Prime Minister said in the Lok Sabha that the security of minorities should be a key issue in the (Gujarat) election. What about security of the majority? Is that not an issue? India can never be converted into a Hindu state,” he said.

Going on to explain why, he added: “Respected deputy Prime Minister, you do not know anything about Hindutva because Hindutva is synonymous with secularism. Sarva dharma sambhaav is Hindutva, it is secularism. But when you create a distinction between secularism and Hindutva, you are creating vote banks.”

The VHP leaders took off on Advani at a Diwali milan they hosted for the press. Although they insisted it would be a purely “social occasion”, the brass — including Singhal, Dalmiya, Acharya Giriraj Kishore and Surendra Jain — took their seats on the dais and seemed more than willing to talk in front of television cameras.

Accusing Advani of “playing with words”, Singhal said his message would not be taken “kindly” by the Hindus. “People will not understand or appreciate the difference between a state and a nation. But the message is not good, it will cause damage. Because the message was a Hindu state will not be created and only the interests of minorities will be cared for,” he said.

Singhal ferreted out another pet BJP phrase — “justice for all, appeasement of none” — and threw it back at the party: “So far they spoke of justice for all and we had no problem with that. They spoke of injustice to all and we had no problem with even that. But when he expressed concern only for the minorities, he took the path trod by everyone. In the process, the BJP’s slogan of being a party with a difference nahi jhalakti hai (it does not jell).”