M A I N   N E W S

Advani to quit by December-end
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, September 18
Bharatiya Janata Party President L. K. Advani today finally succumbed to growing pressure of the RSS and announced his resignation from the top party post after the National Council meeting in Mumbai from December 26 to 29.

In his concluding speech at the end of the three-day BJP National Executive meeting here today, Mr Advani said:“I have decided that after the Mumbai session, I shall demit office, and the party’s stewardship should be taken over by some other colleague.”

His announcement came as a shock to the Advani camp in the BJP though his quitting office was doing the rounds here since last evening. His offer to quit was humiliating as unlike last time in June when he offered to resign after the Jinnah controversy none of the 210 National Executive members asked him to reconsider his decision.

Early morning today, Mr Advani summoned some of his close leaders in the party and showed them his concluding speech and his followers knew that he was no more strong enough to combat the RSS onslaught. After his brush with the RSS leadership regarding his remarks about Jinnah being secular it was fait accompli for Mr Advani and it is now proved that it cost him his job as BJP President.

As such, in his concluding speech he did not spare his parent organization, the RSS, of which he was once a blue eyed boy but incurred its wrath recently. In his hard-hitting statement against the RSS, Mr Advani said: “Lately an impression has gained ground that no political or organisational decision can be taken without the consent of the RSS functionaries. This perception, we hold, will do no good either to the party or to the RSS.

“The RSS too must be concerned that such a perception will dwarf its greater mission of man-making and nation-building. Both the RSS and the BJP must consciously exert on themselves to dispel this impression.”

He felt that the RSS should restrict itself and play its role to strengthen the ethical, moral and idealistic moorings of the workers as well as functionaries of the BJP, as in the past, and in the larger interest of the nation.

Hinting that the RSS and organisations in the Sangh Parivar do not contest elections and as such are not directly accountable to the people, Mr Advani pointed out: “Their (RSS and Sangh Parivar) views provide valuable inputs for our decision-making process. But the BJP as a political party is accountable to the people, its performance being periodically put to test in elections. So in a democratic, multi- party polity, an ideologically driven party like the BJP has to function in a manner that enables it to keep its basic ideological stances intact and at the same time expand itself to reach the large sections of the people outside the layers of ideology.”

While briefing the media here, senior BJP leader and the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mr Jaswant Singh, however, denied that Mr Advani had succumbed to RSS pressure. But he failed to explain why he offered to quit and how did the objective situation within the party changed since a few months ago when Mr Advani was forced by his confidantes to carry on as party President.

Asked whether Mr Advani was a stop-gap arrangement after former party President Venkaiah Naidu quit following the rout of the BJP in the last Lok Sabha poll, Mr Singh replied: “There is no stop-gap arrangement in our party, only a person like me can be a stop-gap arrangement.”

Regarding Mr Advani’s successor, he said: “Getting a successor is a function of the party organisation.”

But what hit the Advani camp below the belt today was the role played by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The “Vikash Purush”,Vajpayee, did nothing to dissuade the “Lowha Purush”, Advani, from making this announcement. In fact, he gave a hint of the things to come as he remarked yesterday: “Kal kisne dekha?” (Who has seen tomorrow?) when asked whether Mr Advani would offer to resign.

Mr Vajpayee’s valedictory speech today sounded more like a political obituary of Mr Advani as he heaped praises on him and recalled their younger days and how he had helped Mr Vajpayee in parliamentary politics from behind the scenes. But the end result was that he did not come to the aid of his old time friend in the party.

The BJP National Executive also passed a resolution on internal security and highlighted three main dangers which it felt was hovering over the country – terrorism, Naxalism and illegal infiltration.

It alleged that on all these three fronts, the ruling UPA government was failing and demanded strong action to combat them.

It stated: “With a directionless Prime Minister and inert Home Minister, the UPA is proving to be the weakest government the country ever had to face the challenges of internal security.”


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