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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Advani’s pitch on secularism fails to move ally JD(U)

Vikas Pathak, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 05, 2013
First Published: 23:46 IST(5/3/2013) | Last Updated: 00:05 IST(7/3/2013)

BJP patriarch LK Advani may have made a pitch for the party including a charter of commitments to the minorities in its agenda of development, but ally Janata Dal (United) isn’t impressed.

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“The ideology on which the RSS is based does not fit into a pro-minority charter of governance. Also, the minorities are unlikely to be convinced even if the BJP does so,” JD(U) MP Shivanand Tiwari told HT.

“Advani ji should remember that when he praised Pakistan founder Jinnah, he had to step down from the post of BJP president.”

Tiwari said while the BJP had all along been aggressively demanding that Afzal Guru be hanged, the party’s leaders and workers haven’t displayed the same aggression when talking of Punjab militants, like former state CM Beant Singh’s killer.

He added so far as the NDA as an alliance was concerned, it had its common minimum programme and mutually agreed agenda for governance, implying that “secularism” would be necessary for an NDA government.

JD(U) has been known to dislike Modi, as it eyes the Muslim votes in Bihar, which has largely been a captive vote bank of the now-diminished RJD of Lalu Prasad.

RSS leaders on their part refused comment on Advani’s proposal. Even as Advani’s pitch for a more “secular” BJP was interpreted as an attempt to subtly take the BJP away from the aggressively pro-Narendra Modi pitch seen on day-1 of the party’s just concluded national council, the strategy may not have worked in impressing ally JD(U).


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