Besieged by controversies, BJP leader LK Advani is trying to bring the focus of his Jan Chetna Yatra back on corruption in the ranks of India’s ruling Congress party, but ill health is coming in the way.
In Bhopal on Sunday, Advani said he has been stressing on bringing back black money stashed abroad since the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. He said an agency called Global Integrity has estimated that nearly Rs 2.5 lakh crore was stashed abroad.
He said three members of his party blew the whistle on the cash-for-vote scam—in which the Congress allegedly bribed opposition MPs during a trust vote in 2008—but they ended up in jail themselves.
“This is also one of the reasons behind the yatra, as those who had given the money are roaming free,” Advani said.
Even as Advani has tried to corner the Congress on the issue of corruption, his own party has been hit by corruption scandals since the nationwide yatra was launched in Bihar on Tuesday.
BJP leader and former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa was arrested on Saturday on corruption charges. Since the arrest, Advani has been inaccessible to journalists.
Speculation that Advani has launched the yatra to project himself as his party’s prime ministerial candidate ahead of the next general elections has also been rife. Advani has tried to avoid talking about this issue. The only time he did was in an interview at Umria, when he talked about “keeping the options open”.
On Sunday, Advani said he was missing the “support and guidance” of AB Vajpayee, who has been ill. Ill-health is catching up with 85-year-old Advani too. His Saturday night address at Hoshangabad, around 75 km from here, was cut short after barely five minutes because of a sore throat. Advani flew by a helicopter to Chhindwara on Sunday and from there he will enter Maharashtra on Monday.
It is up to BJP to decide on PM candidate: RSS
As the debate in the BJP over its PM candidate refuses to die down, the RSS on Sunday said L K Advani will himself make it clear if he is in the race for the post and insisted it is up to the BJP to decide on the matter.
“Advani has said it in his own words... there is still time. The party decides the issue and it will decide. He has also said this is an issue to be decided by the party. I think he will himself make it clear. The Sangh has never asked him to," RSS General Secretary Suresh Joshi said. HTC