Book launch fit for a PM-in-waiting
Leader of Opposition LK Advani's autobiography My Country My Life was released here with much fanfare on Wednesday at a high-profile function that virtually saw his launch as the NDA's prime ministerial candidate for the next round of parliamentary elections.
The 'star-studded' show was attended by some of the big names from the world of politics, business and the Hindi film fraternity. Several prominent personalities of the nation acknowledged his leadership qualities and expressed confidence that he would be India's next prime minister.
The sprawling Siri Fort Auditorium was packed to capacity with an august gathering including top BJP-RSS leaders and chief ministers of five NDA-ruled states, to captains of industry like Anil Ambani and Sunil Bharti Mittal, besides several representatives from Bollywood like Sanjay Dutt, singers Sonu Nigam and Abhijeet.
The over 1,000-page volume was launched by former President APJ Abdul Kalam in the presence of Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh and former vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, both longtime associates of Advani. Mohan Bhagwat the top boss of Advaniji's ideological 'parivar' and veteran journalist and political commentator Cho Ramaswamy from down South.
The evening saw Jaswant Singh putting up a strong defence in favour of Advani while enumerating his qualities of head and heart. "I believe Advaniji is the one of the most misread and misrepresented leaders in today's politics … He is far removed from being a breaker of mosques or any such thing," he asserted.
Recalling the evening of December 6,1992, when the destruction of the Babri mosque had disturbed him, Singh said Advani called him up regretting that the "party which was leading the campaign had lost its sense of discipline". He described the book as a "pathbreaker" and a "valuable addition" to India's political and social history over the past several decades.
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who could not attend the function due to ill-health, had written the foreword of the book in which he described Advani as his "friend and comrade-in-arms" ever since he started working in Bharatiya Jan Sangh over 50 years ago. During his long political career, Advani had at times been misunderstood and as a result "become a victim of dichotomy between image and reality," he said.
"… Mirrored in this book is the remarkable journey of a sensitive human being and an outstanding leader whose best, I hope, is yet to come," wrote the leader.