By: Ganesh Sovani
August 22, 2005
expressed here are author’s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer
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The immediate suspension of unrelenting Madanlal Khurana from the BJP over
his repeated demand for the removal of Narendra Modi as Gujrat CM has once
again thrown BJP in huge political turmoil. It is interesting to note that
the ex - Delhi CM reiterated this demand coinciding with the visit of
party president L.K. Advani’s first visit to Gujrat after the eruption of
controversy generated by him over his newly found secular credentials of
late Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Remarks made by him during his Pakistan visit had virtually caused a
vertical split in the party and its parent organization RSS, had taken up
this issue very seriously. Peeved over the reactions from the RSS and over
all party workers, who too were taken by surprise, Advani had tendered his
resignation only to be withdrawn it within forty eight hours after the
successful mediation of the party’s second rung leaders, even as Advani
was firm on his views on Jinnah, the position which he has consistently
maintained till this date.
Madanlal Khurana, on his part, not only pressed for Modi’s removal on the
backdrop of Jagdish Tytler’s resignation from the union cabinet after
Justice Nanavati’s 1984 Delhi riot report was tabled in Parliament on
Monday 8th of July, 2005, but he was also fomenting his anger against
those second rung leaders who have allegedly surrounded Advani in cosy air
conditioned rooms. In addition to this, what Khurana was trying to impress
upon the high command was that the party should also emulate the Prime
Minister Dr. Singh, by asking Gujrat CM to resign, thereby to remain in
good books of people.
However, major chunk of BJP leaders were emphasising that till this date
Justice Nanavati, who is also incidentally conducting an enquiry into post
Godhra riots had not indicted Modi in his interim report, but on the
contrary, given a clean chit to high level Gujrat state officials and
politicians as well, without naming anybody.
Why Advani still backs Modi ?
There are many in India, who are still wondering as to why Advani is still
backing Modi, even as the public perception of his ‘inability’ to control
the riots continues to exist. However, on his part, Advani has maintained
that if Modi was to be removed at this juncture, as the Gujrat assembly
elections are still two and quarter years away, then the demands of
removal of other chief ministers of BJP ruled states like Rajasthan, M.P.,
Gujrat, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand would also precipitate, who too are also
facing dissidents in their respective states.
Uma Bharati’s staunch supporter ex union minister Pralhad Patel, has
suddenly resurfaced demanding the removal of Babulal Gaur as Madhya
Pradesh MP. Similarly, Babulal Marandi, the ex – chief minister of
Jharkhand has freshly demanded the removal of Arjun Munda , who assumed
the seat of power at Ranchi, after Congress – JMM government headed by
Shibu Soren was asked to resign by Delhi before the petition challenging
the Governor’s debatable action was about to be heard in Apex court. All
these sudden developments in the BJP ruled states have sent party higher
ups in tizzy.
It is interesting to note that when Khurana re-launched his ‘Modi – Hatao’
campaign in less than four weeks, he along with the dissidents in Gujrat
preferred to meet Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi to vent their feelings. However,
Dr. Joshi showed his equanimity by directing them to meet ex- prime
minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee, rather than making any comment or taking any
initiative on the whole issue. It is an open secret that Dr. Joshi has not
been able to get along with L.K. Advani on scores of issues, a fact which
has considerably confounded party workers.
The initial euphoria generated in the BJP over the resignation of union
minister Jagdish Tytler in the wake of tabling of Justice Nanavati report
on 1984 Delhi riots on the last Monday, seems to have been gradually
waning. When the report was revealed in Parliament, it’s leaders right
from Delhi state level unit up to national level were just short of
telling both, the media and the people “we told you so” (about the
involvement of Tytler and others ! ) in Delhi riots, in the wake of Madam
Indira Gandhi’s assassination, which in nearly 4,000 innocent Sikhs lost
PM’s initiative in removing Tytler
During the course of debate in Parliament, L.K. Advani, as the leader of
opposition had gone to the extent of alleging that the Congress was guilty
of shielding the culprits for the last twenty-one years. But it was the
Prime Minister who impressed upon Madam Sonia Gandhi for the immediate
removal of Tytler from the cabinet, although the Nanavati commission had
merely mentioned about his ‘probable’ role during the riots. The PM seems
to have reacted more out of ‘public perception’ about Tytler’s involvement
in the riots, lest his further continuance in the cabinet could cause
further embarrassment to his government.
It may be recalled that Dr. Singh was extremely averse to Tytler’s
inclusion in his cabinet, when he was sworn in as India’s fourteenth prime
minister in May, 2004. But he had to finally bow to the wishes of Delhi
State Congress unit in general and to that of Delhi CM Sheila Dixit in
particular for accommodating Tytler in his cabinet.
On the backdrop of Tytler’s resignation, another controversial Congress
politician who had allegedly participated in the riots, Dharam Das Shastri
too resigned as a chairman of Delhi Rural Development Board, only to
manifest the panic reaction of the Congress.
While giving the reaction to the electronic media, one Sikh gentleman was
shown as saying that if the action was not taken against Tytler and other
culprits, then we would not hesitate to demand Khalistan, thereby
indicating how the Sikh community still continues to be enraged with the
very names of Tytler, Shastri, etc.
Had the Prime Minister, Dr. Singh, being a Sikh could not have managed
Tytler’s resignation, that could have shown as a sign of his ‘weakness’
even as being PM and the SPGC (Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee)
in that eventuality could have also threatened of his excommunication from
Sikh Panth, a traumatic experience which incumbent Bihar governor Buta
Singh had undergone almost a decade ago. Very few would recollect that
Buta Singh was asked to polish the shoes, chappals and footwear of Golden
Temple visitors for a week or so, as penance before he was readmitted into
Some unignorable facts
Though initially in self patting mode, over Justice Nanavti’s report on
1984 Delhi riots, as the commission was appointed by the BJP, albeit to
both please and placate Akalis in Punjab, the BJP (and RSS as well) has
also realized to some extent what next could be in store as Justice
Nanavati is expected to submit his Gujrat riot reports in six months time
When Nanavati commission starts jotting down it’s finding on Gujrat riots,
one thing is quite certain that it can not afford to ignore the numerous
flaks and strictures which have already been passed by the highest court
of the land, in the wake of Zahira Shaikh, Bilkis Banu and post-Godhra
riot matters, for the manner in which Modi had allegedly shielded the
culprits of the riots and the shoddy investigation done by Gujrat police,
which had even hit the international headlines. When it transferred Zahira
Sheikh’s matter from Gujrat to Maharashtra for the criminal trial, the
then Supreme Court was just short of suggesting the removal of Gujrat
chief minister with immediate effect for his controversial inaction during
the initial phase of the riots.
So also, it would be very difficult for retired justice Liberhann to over
look the incidence of framing of charges by Rai Bareli Special Trial
Court, on BJP stalwarts like L.K. Advani, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma
Bharti, Vinay Kattiar, etc. in the last month, for being ‘conspirators’ in
the demolition of sixteenth century disputed structure at Ayodhya. Though
CBI had given clean chit to Advani when NDA government was in power, it is
the same investigation agency which has charge sheeted Advani along with
other leaders, as it found credible evidence of his conspiratorial role in
Godhra train carnage : party’s piquant position
Although the carnage on two ill fated compartments of ‘Sabarmati Express’
has been sighted as the root cause of post Godhra riots, even on this
front too, the BJP seems to be facing a piquant situation.
There are many grey areas which Justice Nanavati will have to seriously
look into while investigating Godhra train tragedy in which 58 passers
from Coach Nos. S – 6 & S – 7 were charred to death. Even as the NDA
government was in power, the Railway Ministry did not institute any
separate enquiry prior to the creation of Justice Nanavati Commission by
the Gujrat state government, which has been also entrusted the task of
enquiring into train carnage as well. Now, the Congress I headed UPA
government coming into power a separate commission headed by Justice
Bannerji has been appointed to enquire into train carnage.
Two days back Justice Bannerji travelled in a railway compartment of a
train which was made to rerun between Delhi to Safdarjang railway stations
to find out how the two coaches of ‘Sabarmati Express’ might have caught
the fire. But Justice Bannerji was forced to do rerunning of the train, as
the two coaches which were completely gutted stand dismantled, thereby
giving lot of speculation to arise.
How can these coaches be so dismantled which form the part of muddemal
property in the Godhra criminal trial which is still pending. Being a
trial judge, the Special POTA judge at Mehsana has every right to inspect
such coaches and visit scene of offence, before delivering the verdict
should he opts so. How can he do so now ?
One would not be surprised if a any new controversy emerges on this score.
Who ordered the dismantling of these coaches? What was the intention
behind their dismantling? These are extremely tricky questions which BJP
would find it very difficult to answer, as it was in power both at Gandhi
Nagar and Delhi at the relevant time.
It was the myopic attitude which the BJP has maintained over Godhra train
inferno and it’s after math, after the party led by Modi got elected in
December, 2002 assembly elections which appears to be causing significant
damage to the party. No one has slightest inkling about all these delicate
issues, leave alone the answers to them.
Advani : An over rated politician ?
All this makes to wonder, what is ailing with the party which was regarded
as a party of truly inspirational cadres who have scarified their lives,
careers, professional pursuits for the sake of the party and country as
There is no denying of the fact that Advani’s remarks on Jinnah and
controversy which erupted thereafter have weakened the moral of average
party worker. Barring second rung leaders, who continue to back Advani in
his critical times, the party president has no more supporters in the
Even the media has been wondering whether it over rated Advani by calling
him as an ‘Iron man’ after getting enamoured with his Ayodhya movement, a
sobriquet which was justifiably prefixed to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, as
his performance as a home minister in the wake of Hyderabad action (inspite
of Pandit Nehru’s opposition to it) and abolition of 650 princely states
was quite remarkable.
When the NDA was in power, even the RSS was also sore with him, as being
home minister, he could not give justice to it, when it’s four workers
were brutally murdered in the North East part of India couple of years
As a home minister for six years in a row, he could have very well
introduced police reforms which have been gathering the dust for more than
two decades and thereby strengthen country’s police machinery, which was
the need of the hour. Also, no effort was made to revamp country’s
intelligence wings, namely, IB (Intelligence Bureau) and RAW (Research &
Analysis Wing), which are in the news these days for the wrong reasons.
It was L.K. Advani who was on the forefront in demanding the then home
secretary N.N. Vora’s report on ‘Politician – criminal nexus’ report be
made public, when BJP was in opposition when Congress led government led
by P.V. Narasimha Rao was in power. However, during his six year tenure as
a home minister, he could not show the courage of making that report
public, leave alone taking any stringent step in breaking such nexus,
which has now spread to towns and villages across the country.
Need to redefine its policies :
It is a high time that the party should adopt both saner and realistic
approach thereby giving an ear to the expectations of the people, rather
than imposing any religious based ideology. A common man in India is least
concerned whether Ram temple is constructed in Ayodhya whether at disputed
or undisputed site. The Ram temple might have been a rallying point a
decade and half ago, but the truth is that it is no longer so.
The common man is concerned with his livelihood, shelter, education,
safety and security.
The speed with which the incumbent UPA government has come out with rural
employment guarantee and minimum wages bill has astounded many and
Congress is bound to utilize this as a poll plank when the next elections
are held. Being a hard core economist, Dr. Singh is fully aware that his
party has no reason to worry, if the economic expectations of the people
are fully addressed in a systematic manner, before the next general
elections are declared. Five years is a short period to fulfil the
aspirations of everyone in the country. But if HE lays down an
irreversible path to that effect that would suffice for the party, no
matter, how loud left parties make tantrums about it.
All in all, BJP is facing the worst political crisis in its silver jubilee
year and unless it redefines its priorities and adopts people oriented
approach rather than populist or slogan oriented approach, the party has
very little chanced to come out of current turmoil. To make all that
happen, it’s parent body, RSS will have give a complete free hand to BJP
to lay down it’s strategies and the present situation paves an ideal time
for drawing a ‘Laxman Rekha’ between the RSS and BJP.
The RSS on its part must also realize that the BJP being a political
outfit can not afford to address the issues confronted by only Hindus in
this country, but it will have to take care of all sections of the
society, in order to establish its secular credentials. Should it try to
become a religion based party, it would invite the wrath of the election
commission as well.
Sooner both of them realize it, better for them and better for the country
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