Has Advani let down his biggest ally?
By lashing out at the RSS, Advani has put a big question mark over his continuation till December 30, writes Pankaj Vohra.india Updated: Sep 30, 2005 15:42 IST
By lashing out at the RSS, his biggest benefactor, BJP president L.K. Advani has put a big question mark over his continuation till December 30, the day he will step down to pave the way for his successor.
Stunned by his comments, Sangh activists expect the retaliation to come sooner rather than later. The lack of action, in fact, could be interpreted as a sign of weakness and may have serious repercussions for the RSS.
While the Sangh had virtually served Advani an ultimatum to quit latest by the Chennai meeting after he failed to resign by September 3 — the date he himself had communicated to Nagpur — he could have, by his critical remarks, isolated himself with the fraternity where he grew up to attain the stature he has acquired today.
After he finished his parting speech on Sunday, no one clapped or seemed to endorse what he had said, even though some of his supporters claimed several top BJP leaders had been consulted.
What hurt the RSS most is that Advani used the same kind of language to criticise its functioning as has been done in the past by the Left and the Congress. In any case, his utterances did not reflect his own thinking — that differences should be sorted out within the organisational fora and there was no need to rush to the press.
Reacting to his criticism that the RSS should stop interfering in the daily functioning of the party, Sangh activists said all was ok till the arrangement suited Advani, but when the RSS questioned him on his deviation from ideology during his Pakistan visit, he decided to attack them.
The irony is that it has always been the RSS which has stood by Advani. This was borne out when he first became chairman of the Delhi Metropolitan Council in the Sixties and then a Rajya Sabha member for so many years. In 1991, the RSS ensured that he became leader of the opposition (overlooking A.B. Vajpayee's claim) and later was instrumental in making him the deputy prime minister.
It is also being said that on numerous occasions, Advani chose not to consult the RSS but still his actions were endorsed. His Somnath to Ayodhya Rath Yatra was the first instance. He did not take the Sangh into confidence when he appointed himself leader of the opposition in 2004 and then replaced Venkaiah Naidu with himself.
The RSS is apparently drawing up a two-point agenda to meet with the situation. It does not interest them any longer whether the BJP does well in Bihar or not; its primary concern is that there should be no deviation from ideology.
First Published: Sep 20, 2005 19:24 IST