In this age of style over substance every attempt has been made to package an old hypocrite into an energetic man of vision. Our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, hit the nail on the head by stating while releasing his party's election manifesto Dr Manmohan Singh revisited the issue and discussed what he thinks to be the 'contributions' of L.K. Advani to public life.According to a newspaper report (Indian Express, 25 th March 2009) While recounting Advani's record as the Home Minister, Singh said "the country must decide whether this person (Advani) is fit to be the Prime Minister." The Prime Minister said Advani had played a "prominent role in destruction of Babri Mosque." "What else has he (Advani) contributed to the national welfare? When he was the Home Minister, attack on Parliament took place, troops were mobilised for 12 months (on the border) and withdrawn without any reason resulting in losses to the tune of crores of rupees, Red Fort was attacked, plane was hijacked and terrorists were rewarded," the Prime Minister recalled. Singh also said that Advani, as Home Minister, had "presided over massacres in Gujarat (in 2002)." The Prime Minister said while Advani "led the communal forces, he was opportunist enough when he visited Pakistan and suddenly discovered new virtues of Jinnah that he was a secular man." Singh took a dig at Advani for what he faced from his party on his return from Pakistan. "The party disowned him at the behest of masters in RSS when he came back. So whether Advani is strong man or weak man, let the records speak for themselves," he added.(Express, 25 th March 2009). His record and duplicity are more than enough reason for the Indian masses to reject his claim and candidature outright.
Unfortunately, elections are not decided on issues of the kind listed about but on emotions and play of caste and communal politics and strategic alliances. We need the Congress to adopt a firm secular line without playing the Muslim card to counter Hindutva. While on the issue of a Varun Gandhi the Congress has done well, but in a similar situation if a rabid Muslm spoke about killing hindus and branding his war as a religious jehad, I can predict that neither the media nor Congress would react in a similar manner. The other parties with NDA must realize the dangers of this alignment and not support any communal line for the sake of power. We need leaders and intelligenstia who realize the danger of fascist forces and question, embarrass and condemn Advani and his ilk at all times. I feel a TV debate between Advani, Manmohan Singh and the third front and left would certainly help in exposing the BJP's duplicity.
Also I wish to applaud the candidature of Mallika Sarabhai against Advani in Gandhinagar and would appeal to all the political formations to jointly support her and defeat Advani through a principled informed campaign.
Let us as a nation recognize the threat to India from the hypocritical and dangerous Advani and his party and the divisive ideology they represent.
Lastly, I have a confession to make that in 1999 I was taken in by the propaganda of the BJP and Advani and his accusation of minority appeasement against the Congress still seems correct to me, but today I recognize the dangers of this cock-tail of hatred and divisiveness and I truly regret my support for BJP.
Dr. Vispi Jokhi