Advani best for BJP but not for country: Govindacharya (Interview)

November 25th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 25 (IANS) L.K. Advani was chosen as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial nominee because of a lack of talent in the party, says former BJP general secretary K.N. Govindacharya. He says Advani is not the “natural leader” of the Hindutva movement and blamed former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the “economic mess” today.”The choice of Advani is the best available for the party, but not necessarily for the country. The reservoir from which to pick up is so poor that he emerges as the best,” Govindacharya, once a blue-eyed boy of Advani, said during the course of an interview.

He had quit the BJP in 2000 to go on study leave and recently re-entered politics by accepting to become the ’sarvesarva’ (overall in charge) of Uma Bharati’s Bharatiya Jan Shakti (BJS) party on the eve of the Madhya Pradesh elections.

Advani was “not the natural leader of the Hindutva movement”, said Govindacharya, adding: “He became the wrong leader of the right movement. His convictions and moorings are different. `Bharat’ for him starts with the Constituent Assembly debates. He was influenced by the concept of nation states of Europe and the West, and not by the concept of geo-culture.”

The biggest dilemma of the BJP today, Govindacharya elaborated, was that Advani wanted to move in one direction, adopt a different line and cut away from the past, but was not able to do so because he needed the Sangh Parivar.

“If he had had the courage, he could have split the party and stuck to his line, come what may. At the time of the Jinnah controversy, I had sent him a message - have the courage to follow your convictions and take the issue to the people,” said Govindacharya referring to Advani’s controversial endorsement of the secularism of Mohammed Ali Jinnah during his 2005 visit to Pakistan.

Announcing his return to active politics last week, Govindacharya had said he intended to forge a new political platform which is “pro-Bharat” and “pro-poor” and try to bring ideology and idealism back into political functioning.

Govindacharya hit out at the Gen X leaders in the BJP and said that “pragmatism and careerism” characterised them. “As far as ideology and idealism are concerned, these will not just be put on the backburner (by them), they will be nowhere. (Under them), it will not be politics of conviction but of convenience. And it will be a no-holds-barred battle between them, each using their unique weapon to fight.”

He described Vajpayee as “irrelevant” today.

“He did what he could to retain power at any cost. Barring Pokhran, what more can be attributed to him? In that (Pokhran) he picked up courage; otherwise be it Kargil or any other thing, he did not act. He opened the floodgates for foreign investment. He is equally responsible for the economic mess we see today - the rise of unemployment, disparities and a consumerist culture,” Govindacharya said, without mincing his words.

He continues to be a swayamsevak (worker) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Asked if he had the Sangh’s blessings in what he was doing, Govindacharya replied: “I don’t know. I haven’t asked. But I have always kept them informed about what I am doing.”

Govindacharya said he saw no difference between the Congress and the BJP. “I call the Congress the `tiranga’ party and the BJP `doranga’ Congress. That is why they favour bipolar polity, so that they can rule by turn.”

When it came to power in 1998, the BJP had aroused hopes that it could deliver, he said. But it had traversed the same road as the Congress. This has led to “a deep sense of disappointment” in the country and to “failing systems and a failing state”. If the situation was not addressed, “we will see anarchy grow”.

“That, I feel, is the BJP’s biggest negative contribution which it does not understand. It is not just about the internal damage to the party.”

He did not see the BJP coming to power in 2009. “Today the Congress and the BJP between them have 282 seats (in the Lok Sabha). It will come down to 250. The government (in 2009) will be more unstable, opportunistic and corrupt. We will see a difference between the pre-poll alliances and the post- poll alliances, with bids being made by parties and individuals.”

Asked if the BJS could join hands with the BJP again, Govindacharya said: “That does not seem likely. Dekha jayega (We’ll see). Values and issues would be a deciding factor. They will not listen to us about values and issues. How pro-poor will they be on, say, land rights for tribals. Agar aajayenge bhi, tho bahut kashta denge (Even if we join hands, we will give them pain).”

Speaking of the probe into the Sep 29 Malegaon blasts pointing to the involvement of Sangh leaders, Govindacharya said: “There is no question of the Sangh being involved… It is a bit like America making a case for attack on Iraq by talking repeatedly about it having weapons of mass destruction. They never found the weapons but they captured the country. We are playing with fire, at the cost of national solidarity.”

Govindacharya said he agreed with BJP president Rajnath Singh when he had said that a Hindu could not be a terrorist.

“A white crow or a black swan - this itself is contradictory. The issue is entirely different. As a society, it (the Hindus) acts in self-defence. The total society is pitted against an intolerant faith, and it does not know how to tackle it. That is the crisis today. The state does not come to its rescue, it is into petty politics. The proselytizing religions are a danger to the (Hindu) cultural identity…Minorityism… will never result in the upliftment of minorities. For that a more sincere effort is needed.”

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