One of the famous quotes of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill is, “A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, kept inside an enigma.” This quote was about the USSR’s foreign policy during the cold war. The same Churchillian quote could be an apt description of BJP leader LK Advani’s decision to quit the three party posts and later withdraw it in a gap of 36 hours.
I have known Advani for quite some time. I have been covering him for almost two decades and have had the opportunity to spend some time with him and watch him from very close quarters. He is a man of tremendous conscious of his self-respect–not meek and not to give in very easily. He brooks no nonsense and a strict disciplinarian.
Given this nature, only a politically naïve would believe that Advani has agreed not to press for his resignation only on the “advice” of RSS chief Mohan Bhagvat. Equally, it would be too simplistic to believe that a man of self-respect would reconcile only on the mere assurance that “all his concerns about the functioning of the party would be addressed” and would swallow the ignominy without getting anything in return.
Is it true that Advani got nothing in return for withdrawing his resignation, as being screamed by the electronic media? Surely, “there is something more than meets the eye” in the 36-hour drama that unfolded by Advani’s ‘resignation’ on Monday morning and ‘withdrawal’ on Tuesday evening. Shylock did not get what he wanted in bulk and that too at a time; he got it bit by bit.
Only a keen observation about certain decisions to be taken by the party related to forthcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the next coming weeks would unravel the mystery and the true nature of the principal character involved behind this sordid episode. That this 36-hour short serial has caused immense damage to the BJP needs no mention.
If Advani’s both the moves—resignation and withdrawal – have been “enigmatic,” the handling of the entire episode by the party leadership has been inept and amateurish, to put it in mild terms. I am surprised and it is inexplicable as to why an otherwise cautious man like Rajnath Singh should say that Advani withdrew his resignation on the “advice” of RSS supremo Mohan Bhagvat.
By this one statement, what was always suspected—that Sangh dictates terms to the BJP – has now been confirmed. And this confirmation has come from none other than the BJP president. Perhaps, the BJP leadership was too shocked by the turn of events following Advani’s resignation.
If resignation was bad and wrong on the part of Advani, then his decision to release the letter written to party president was worse and ill-motivated. Advani has always taken a principled stance that party’s internal matters should not go to the media as they have great potential to cause immense damage to the image and credibility of the party. But this move—releasing his letter to the media—is most un-Advani like. Why did he do what he did is to be answered by Advani and Advani only. Or else, it can be easily construed as a “blackmailing” tactic, for which Advani has not been known so far. Starting from Jinnah episode in 2005 and continuing till the defeat of the BJP-led NDA in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, there have been many moves on the part of Advani which are simply un-Advani like.
While Jinnah episode took away the sheen of being a hard-core ideological man, his latest remark to compare between Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat chief ministers shocked the cadre. How can an otherwise quintessential organisational man—heart, brain, spine of the party –be so blatant and brazenly partial, biased and have an axe to grind?
Some of us who have inside information on the happenings in the BJP were aware that Advani was slowly losing ground in the form of leaders and cadre moving away from him towards greener pastures in the form of getting electoral dividends. Except for one or two cronies, who used to revolve around him for their selfish and personal ends, not many wanted to pitch on Advani for anything, including obtaining party tickets and for campaigning.
It was obvious that at present Modi is the man of the moment, as Advani was the man of the moment during the 1990 Rath Yatra. “Nobody can stop an idea and a man whose time has come” is a time-tested saying. An experienced and knowledgeable man like Advani ought to have realised this and allowed things to take a natural course. That he allowed himself to be influenced by small-time and selfish people was something disastrous not only for himself but also for the party. “Chhote man se koi bada nahi hota; Toote dil se koi khada nahi hota” is Atalji’s saying. Advani would have done well if he had followed his senior colleague’s saying.
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