Shameful Adieu for Advani

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Lal Krishna Advani, though very controversial and always targeted by his opponents during his entire political journey, at the end of his political career, is facing the wrath and charges of other leaders of his own party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its patron organization, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Born in 1927 in Karachi city of undivided India, Advani became controversial political figure just after partition. His critics still ask about his role in the nation’s freedom struggle, the man who projected himself as the ‘Prime Minister in Waiting’ for the 15th Lok Sabha. Advani is still asked why he didn’t crossover to India just after independence in 1947 to spread the feeling of ‘nationalism’ among Indians? What was he waiting for in Pakistan from 1947-1952?

Lal Krishna Advani Shameful Adieu from Indian Politics

His critics also ask about Advani being born of a Sindhi family, that has Lord Jhulelal as Community God, then what is the purpose behind becoming a ‘Ram bhakt’ (worshipper of Lord Rama) over the last three decades? And such a big ‘Ram Bhakt’ that he organized a huge *Rathyatra* in the name of Lord Rama, which disturbed the harmonious social fabric of the country.

Despite being born in Pakistan and schooling there, Advani speaks very fluent and attractive Hindi. Instead of pronouncing the word ‘Hindustan’ in its proper form, he pronounces it as ‘Hindusthan’. His personality and thinking can be judged from this self created pronunciation ‘Hindusthan’. But if we see other leaders born in Pakistan, such as the former Prime Ministers Gulzari Lal Nanda, Inder Kumar Gujral and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, we find that the language besides English which they were familiar with in their childhood and youth, was Urdu, the influence of which still can be seen in conversations by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Inder Kumar Gujral.

Critics again ask how Advani, living in Pakistan for such a long period, remained uninfluenced by Urdu? Or by deliberately remaining away from Urdu and showing extraordinary love for Hindi, he tried to explore the possibilities of narrow politics as is the case of ‘replacing’ his deity Lord Jhulelal by Lord Rama?

At present, the BJP’s self declared ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Prime Minister in Waiting’ is the target of his own party leaders. The way, in which the leaders like Jaswant Singh are putting up amazing facts about Advani, it is clear that Advani’s real mission in life was neither to nurture the ideology of ‘Hindutva’, nor to build the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

He is neither a rightist, not a leftist or centrist. His main objective, since 1952 to 2009, was only to capture the post of the Prime Minister of India. He acted always in life with this very objective in mind. But the people of India timely understood the objectives and actions of Advani and his political group. Consequently, they gave such a befitting reply to this ‘Prime Minister in Waiting’, which even Advani might not have imagined.

Today, the biggest reason behind the defeat of the BJP in general elections is said to be the projection of Advani as ‘Prime Minister in Waiting’. Party leaders now feel that this was the biggest mistake. RSS also views Advani’s candidature as the cause of the party’s rout.

To prove himself as a ‘Strong Leader’, this ‘Iron Man’ said during general elections that he was unaware of the release of three terrorists and escort of then Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh with them to Kandahar in exchange for the passengers of the hijacked plane in 1999.

By giving such misleading statements, Advani tried to convey to the Indian voters that had he the information regarding this ‘deal’, he would never have allowed the release of terrorists in Kandahar.

Advani said such a big lie to protect his ‘Iron Man’ image. But, instead of believing in Advani’s ‘clarification,’ the people of India thought how it is possible that the deputy Prime Minister and the Home Minister of the country don’t have information and the Foreign Minister of the country escorts dangerous terrorists in a special plane to Kandahar? Finally, Jaswant Singh, after being ousted from the party, raised the curtain from the truth and said Advani knew everything and the high level meeting in which it was decided to release the terrorists, was even chaired by Advani himself. The then national security adviser Brijesh Mishra also supported this fact.

In recent years, the BJP has earned most notoriety vis-a-vis the Gujarat pogrom of 2002. The concerns of the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee during the communal riots could be gauged by his serious and to the point statements. Vajpayee, in view of international criticism, was in favour of removing the Chief Minister Narendra Modi from office. If Modi would have been removed at that time, perhaps, the BJP would not have been in such a poor position now. But it was Advani who stopped Vajpayee from taking action against Modi and himself stood behind Modi.

Even though Advani has not become Prime Minister, he certainly played a very important role in bringing the BJP to power by trying to polarise the ‘Hindu’ votes during Rathyatra, taking the party to the position of the single largest party and in enabling Atal Behari Vajpayee to become Prime Minister.

But by visiting Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s mausoleum in Pakistan, calling him secular and by leaving the basic principles of the BJP namely building of Ram Temple, Common Civil Code and removal of Article 370 from Kashmir, only to get power, Advani also proved that his thoughts and principles were not consistent with his actions. Indeed all his actions were to become Prime Minister. And finally after remaining active for about six decades in Indian politics, this ‘great’ leader is passing out with a shameful adieu. And this adieu was not from the Congress or the leftists, but by his own BJP and RSS.

Tanveer Jafri is an award-winning journalist and peace activist, based in India, covering communal harmony and social activities.