Key Advani aide Sudheendra Kulkarni quits BJP (Lead)August 23rd, 2009 - 5:22 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) Sudheendra Kulkarni, a key aide to senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani and also to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has snapped his ties with the party over “major ideological differences”.
“I have major ideological differences with the party. I want to be honest in my views and wish to maintain party discipline. So I decided to come out,” said Kulkarni, who wrote a magazine article criticising the BJP and its ideological fountainhead Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) after the party’s poll debacle.
He, however, maintained that his decision to quit the BJP had nothing to do with the expulsion of Jaswant Singh over his book “Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence”.
“I decided to end my association with the BJP several weeks back. I had conveyed this to Advani-ji also. My decision has nothing to do with the unfortunate incident of Jaswant Singh-ji,” Kulkarni told television channels.
Kulkarni denied that the BJP was slipping into oblivion. “It is a very strong, a very resilient party…it will go from strength to strength,” said Kulkarni, a one-time Communist Party of India-Marxist card holder.
He said he would continue to be a well-wisher of the party and added: “I have the highest regard for Advani-ji and Atal Bihari Vajpayee-ji, with whom I have worked for 13 years.”
Kulkarni worked in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) during Vajpayee’s time and served as his speech writer, media adviser and political aide.
“From now on, I will be totally independent. I will work with like-minded members of other parties…,” Kulkarni told a news channel.
He, however, clarified he would not join any political party.
Kulkarni wrote a strongly-worded article in the Indian Express Saturday, criticising the party for sacking former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh for his book that praises Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, and blames India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel for the country’s partition.
Earlier, after the BJP’s poll debacle, in an article in Tehelka magazine he found faults with the party and the RSS. The party’s tally of seats in the Lok Sabha came down to 116 from 138 in the 2004 elections.
Writing in the Tehelka magazine, he urged the party to introspect on its humiliating defeat and said: “The RSS needs it no less. Its leaders must ask themselves, and answer the question honestly and earnestly: Why is the acceptability of the RSS and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad limited in Hindu society itself?”
He said the party “did nothing” while its allies started moving away because of the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat that left over 1,100 people, mostly Muslims, dead.
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