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'Leaders stood tall'

There is greater danger to Indian democracy than ever before, the former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar tells Pankaj Vohra.
By Pankaj Vohra | PTI, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 22, 2005 01:41 AM IST

According to him there was no threat to the UPA Government from the Left parties as yet, and a large number of today's leaders who were part of the JP movement and had sworn to fight against caste politics were themselves practicing caste politics to keep themselves in power. Chandrashekhar said that there was not much support for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Montek Singh Ahluwalia within the Union Cabinet.

Talking to the Hindustan Times, Chandrashekhar, who is battling cancer and may go abroad for further treatment shortly, said that during the Emergency, the saving grace was that whether the leaders (Indira Gandhi, Jai Prakash Narayan and Atal Bihari Vajpayee) were in the Government or in the Opposition, they had a great stature. In today's Parliament, both the Opposition and the Government cannot stand each other. There is no tolerance. "Main jata hoon itna shor machta hai wapas aajata hoon." Asked whether he would want to admonish the current leaders as a veteran Parliamentarian, he said, "Main kisko khari khoti suna sakta hoon.''

The former Prime Minister said that there was a grave threat to democracy since in virtually all the countries around India there was no democracy and the kind of relations which existed between political leaders in India were not going to make things any better.

Chandrashekhar, who was the President of the Janata Party following the Emergency, felt that he was greatly disappointed with LK Advani. "His political idiom has deteriorated and so has his articulation. On his return from Pakistan he said that he wanted to start a debate on Jinnah. If that is so than he should have started this debate from India rather than from Pakistan. He is under the impression that he is going to make history. He ended up talking baseless things. The RSS will never tolerate him any more".

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