– AN UNSALABLE
CHARGESHEET AGAINST ADVANI
by V. SUNDARAM I.A.S (retd.)
Praveen Shanker Pillai
Praveen Shanker Pillai
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Kishen Advani resigned for the third time, on 10th Jun, 2013, from top party posts. He had first resigned as Party President on 7th June, 2005 following sharp and stinging criticism from the RSS and right-wing outfits over his remarks praising Jinnah during his six-day visit to Pakistan. LK Advani announced his resignation for the second time at a press conference, a day after the BJP's Silver Jubilee National Council session concluded in Mumbai. Less than seven months after he withdrew his resignation, Advani stepped down as Party President on December 31, 2005 following the RSS timeline to withdraw gracefully, bringing to an end the controversy triggered by his praise of Jinnah.
This is the first time that Advani has stayed away from the BJP National Executive and the Office Bearers' Meeting.
Interestingly, Advani did not resign from two other party posts, namely, the Chairman of the BJP Parliamentary Party and the Working Chairman of NDA. He did not resign from the Gandhinagar Seat in the Lok Sabha either. Apparently he was not serious about his resignation, not this time, not ever!
HINDUTVA – CORE IDEOLOGY
Advani is also one of the founder-members of the BJP, which comprised of the members of the erstwhile Jan Sangh. Advani became the President of the BJP in 1986. Advani’s rise coincided with a growing public disaffection with the ruling Congress party due to non-governance, policy drift and large scale public corruption. BJP declared Hindutva as its core ideology. Sensing a historic electoral opportunity the BJP, in 1989, launched a movement led by Advani on the issue of the RAM JANMABHOOMI. Advani had embarked on a new aggressive Hindu-oriented phase of Indian politics. BJP demanded that a temple dedicated to deity Bhagwaan Sri Ram be created at the disputed site of the Babri Building where, according to Archaeological Survey Of India (ASI), a temple stood till Babur's invasion of India in 1528.
HINDU POLITICAL CONSOLIDATION
Advani embarked on a Rath Yatra from Somnath in Gujarat to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh between 25 September and 30 October 1990. This Rath Yatra mobilized “karsevaks” and encouraged them to converge upon the Babri Building to offer prayers. The Ram Janmabhoomi movement helped the BJP cross fresh boundaries, especially in North India. Advani succeeded in drawing away a large chunk of Hindu voters, who were greatly mortified at the rise of caste-based Mandal politics, away from the Congress. In the 1991 General Elections, Narendra Modi offered Advani the prestigious Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency to contest. In this Election the BJP came second after the Congress party in terms of seats as a result of the biggest Hindu political consolidation the country has ever seen.
On 6th December 1992 Hindu youths of Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal carried out the destruction of the Babri Building (note, there is no such thing as Babri Mosque, except in the anti-national phraseology of the Marxist Historians and Journalists who crept out of the Comrade Jawaharlal Nehru University!).
BJP IN THE UNION GOVERNMENT
Over the weeks following the Babri Building Demolition on 6th December 1992, waves of violence by Muslims erupted all over the country, killing over 1000 people. The VHP was banned by the Congress Government, and many BJP leaders, including L.K. Advani were arrested briefly for provoking the Demolition. Victory in Assembly Elections of Delhi in 1993 and Gujarat and Maharashtra in March 1995, and a sparkling performance in the elections to the Karnataka Assembly in December 1994, propelled the BJP to the centre stage of national politics. BJP became the single largest party in the 1996 Lok Sabha Elections but it did not get a clear majority. The President Shankar Dayal Sharma invited Atal Bihari Vajpayee as leader of the BJP to form a government. Vajpayee could not last more than 13 days as the Prime Minister as he could not secure adequate support in the Parliament.
The Urdu poetry reciting, Nehru admiring, charismatic, “hot-blooded” bachelor Vajpayee was an accomplished public orator and a skilled political manager while dour-faced family-man Advani was BJP's hardcore Hindutva ideologue. Throughout his long political career, Advani, the original Rath Yaatri of Indian politics and three-time BJP president, had been forced to play second fiddle to his long-time party colleague and fellow RSS Swayamsevak, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
In the late 1990s, Advani’s name figured in the diaries of a Hawala broker S.K Jain, listing political payoffs, some of them in violation of the country’s stringent foreign exchange laws. Advani was alleged to have received Rs 35 Lakhs between April 1988 and March 1990. The Union Government referred the case to the Congress Bureau of Investigation (CBI). An emotional Advani declared that he would desist from contesting another election till his honour was vindicated. Advani was exonerated in the case. Though he could not be fixed in the Jain Hawala case the damage was done; its effects of perceived betrayal festered. What hurt Advani most was that his supporters did not rally to his side and his party left him to defend himself. Lal Krishna Advani's friends were no more RSS ideologues but those who had his personal and political interests at heart.
“Every new conquest made Rome richer, more rotten and more merciless.” - Will Durant. As the Roman Empire was becoming stronger militarily, its society was rotting from within. While the public support for Hindutva continued to swell its electoral tally, the RSS ideological core of the BJP weakened, under the Vajpayee-Advani amoral leadership and as a result, the power-broking rootless-wonders, at the periphery became stronger and stronger.
BJP IN UNION GOVERNMENT – SECOND AND THIRD TIME
In the Lok Sabha elections held in 1998 the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) obtained a simple majority. This time, the NDA entered into an ideology-free, amoral, opportunistic alliance with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Biju Janata Dal and the Samata Party. Outside support was provided by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). The NDA had a slim majority, and Vajpayee returned as Prime Minister. But the coalition ruptured in May 1999 when the mercurial and whimsical leader of AIADMK, Miss Jayalalitha, withdrew her support. Fresh General Elections were again held. On 13 October 1999, the BJP-led NDA riding on a wave of popularity, following victory in the Kargil war and major public support for Vajpayee, won 303 seats. The BJP had its highest ever tally of 183. A.B Vajpayee became the Prime Minister for the third time, and LK Advani became the Union Home Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister. This NDA Government lasted its full term of five years. Vajpayee and his economic team, led by Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha continued the free-market reforms and economic liberalisation policies initiated by the previous Congress government under P. V. Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh oversaw a period of fast increasing economic prosperity, attaining the true Hindu Rate of Growth (as distinct from Raj Krishna’s timeless “Hindu Rate of Growth”!), after several long decades of Nehruvian Stalinist deathly stagnation.
One recalls that Advani had to face a really tough time toppling a political novice Rajesh Khanna in the 1991 Lok Sabha elections from New Delhi. Advani had won that election with a wafer-thin majority of little over 1,500 votes, that too when New Delhi was considered as the pocket-borough of the BJP.
ADVANI’S TRACK RECORD EXPOSED
LK Advani’s contribution as an Information and Broadcasting Minister during the Janata Party Government of 1977-90 was hardly impressive.
Advani fancied himself a second Sardar Patel, an uncompromising and fearless leader. But how was his track record as the NDA Union Home Minister for 5 years?
Indian Airlines Flight 814 (IC 814) en route from Kathmandu to New Delhi was hijacked on Friday, 24th December 1999 by Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistan-based Islamic terrorist group. Captain Devi Sharan on board IC 814 successfully persuaded the hijackers to land at Amritsar for refuelling the aircraft. Armed personnel of the Punjab police were in position. They did not receive approval from the NDA Government in New Delhi. Getting no help from the Indian security forces or the Government, Capt Sharan flew to Lahore without refuelling under immense pressure from the Pakistan ISI backed Islamic hijackers. Flight IC 814 aircraft eventually landed in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The NDA Government of India capitulated to the Islamic terrorist demands without firing a single shot. The NDA Union Cabinet Minister Jaswant Singh politely escorted the jailed Islamic terrorists Maulana Masood Azhar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar to Khandahar and secured the release of the hostages. BRAJESH MISHRA, THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR OF THE NDA GOVERNMENT REVEALED IN AN INTERVIEW THAT A RANSOM OF $ 2 MILLION WAS ALSO PAID FOR THE RELEASE OF THE PASSENGERS OF THE IC-814.
Was LK Advani going through a fit of geriatric impotency during this major national crisis? LK Advani, who as the Union Home Minister was ultimately responsible for Internal Security has to answer the following questions.
1. Why was the hijacked Flight IC 814 not stormed at Amritsar Airport for releasing the hostages?
2. After the hijacked Flight IC 814 landed in Khandahar why was a Union Cabinet Minister sent to Khandahar to escort jailed terrorists in exchange? “From security point of view it was not a good decision. What if the hijackers changed their mind...Taliban was with them with ISI backing” - Ajit Kumar Doval IPS.
3. What post-facto action was taken against the erring, indolent and irresponsible officers in the Intelligence Departments and the top IAS, IPS bureaucrats?
4. The case was investigated by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which charged 10 people out of which seven including the five hijackers were still absconding and are in Pakistan. What punitive action was taken against Pakistan for aiding and abetting the hijackers?
Masood Azhar, the terrorist released in Khandahar by the NDA Government founded the Jaish-e-Muhammed in 2000, which gained notoriety for its alleged role in the 2001 Indian Parliament attack.
The 2001 Indian Parliament attack was a high-profile attack by Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists against the building housing the Parliament of India in New Delhi. A group of gunmen had broken through tight security to attack the Parliament Building in the Indian capital, New Delhi. At least 12 people were killed and 22 injured in the attack. There were about 100 Members of Parliament in the Parliament Building at the time, although most unfortunately, none of them were hurt.
On 14 December 2001, the NDA Home Minister LK Advani claimed, “We have received some clues about yesterday's incident, which shows that a neighbouring country, and some terrorist organisations are behind it”. In a true secular-Congress-Muslim-terrorism-appeasing style Advani could bring himself to mention (Islamic) Pakistan by name. Nationalism had oozed out of Advani.
The attack led to the 2001-2002 India-Pakistan military stand-off that resulted in the massing of troops on either side of the border. In late December 2001, both countries moved ballistic missiles closer to each other's border. By January 2002, India had mobilized around 500,000 troops and three Armoured Divisions on the Pakistani border, all concentrated along the Line of Control in Kashmir. Pakistan responded similarly, deploying around 300,000 troops to that region.
Tensions escalated significantly in May. On 14th May, 2002 three Pakistani Islamic terrorists attacked a tourist bus near Kaluchak in Jammu and Kashmir and massacred 34 people including 10 children most of whom were family members of Hindu and Sikh soldiers serving in Kashmir. The Indian Army was greatly angered by the attack.
But by mid-June 2002, the fatigued and Islam-embracing Prime Minister HAJpayee’s NDA Government accepted Paki President General Musharraf’s Al Taqquiya offer to end militant infiltration into India. Further the Government of India removed all air restrictions over India and also lifted the naval blockade of Pakistan.
Pakistan utilized the opportunity presented by the NDA paralysis to threaten India with nuclear strikes if India attacked Pakistan with conventional forces.
By October 2002, HAJpayee’s NDA Government, having lost face over the Paki nuclear blackmail, ordered the demobilization of troops along the Pak border.
When Advani stepped down after six years in the Home Ministry, as many as 160 districts in the country had become infested with Maoists. CLEARLY, HE HAD FAILED TO NIP YET ANOTHER PROBLEM IN THE BUD.
Indian people who wanted a government which would take a strong stand on national security matters felt let down. Millions of Hindu supporters of the RSS-BJP now saw Vajpayee and Advani as two fatigued old toothless tigers living on old lost glory. In hindsight, the Hindu support for Vajpayee – Advani duo was unmerited.
As the Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister L.K Advani began to drift away from the Sangh and the VHP. The Hindu supporters thought now that they had a pro-Hindu Union Government for the first time, the Ram Temple was within their grasp. But their cherished hopes were belied and betrayed by Advani who was callously casual and even dismissive of the RAM JANMABHOOMI Temple Project.
A.B Vajpayee and L.K Advani abandoned the core ideology of Hindutva, which they had accepted in 1986 and adopted an opportunistic Common Minimum Program to remain in power. They abandoned the issues dear to their core Hindu supporters. For the Vajpayee - Advani duo, Hindutva was merely a means, an expedient to acquire political power. Their brand of Hindutva was a ‘use and throw’ variety! Perhaps for them, Hindutva was a disposable condom and nothing else!!
BOFORS MONEY LOOTED AND STASHED AWAY IN SWISS BANKS
On 24 March 1986, a $285 million contract between the Govt of India and Swedish arms company Bofors was signed for supply 155mm Howitzer field guns numbering 410. About a year later, on 16 April 1987, Swedish Radio alleged that Bofors paid kickbacks amounting to INR640 million (US$11 million) to seal the deal. Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi and several others were implicated in this scandal. Ottavio Quattrocchi representing the petrochemicals firm Snamprogetti was the middleman in the scandal. The scale of the corruption was far worse than any that India had seen before and directly led to the defeat of Gandhi's ruling Indian National Congress party in the November 1989 general elections. The case came into light during Vishwanath Pratap Singh's tenure as Defence Minister. Rajiv Gandhi came to be known as Bofors Chor (Bofors Thief). The looted Bofors money was never brought back by the NDA Government despite being in power for a full term of five years.
ABOLITION OF ARTICLE 370
J&K State had acceded to India with since the signing by Maharaja Hari Singh of the Instrument of Accession with Indian Government. Thanks to the treachery of Comrade Maulana Jawaharlal Nehru, the Constitution of India had incorporated Article 370 into it. As a consequence the State of Jammu & Kashmir had a separate Constitution, a separate Head of State and a separate Flag. Its head of Government, then Sheikh Abdullah, was designated Prime Minister. Even the Supreme Court, the Election Commission, and the Comptroller and Auditor General had no jurisdiction over the State. Besides, any Indian citizen wanting to visit J&K State was allowed entry only if he had a permit. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the State's ‘Prime Minister’ and leader of the Muslims in the Kashmir Valley, found the inclusion of Article 370 in the ‘Temporary and Transitional Provisions’ of the Constitution's Part XXI unsettling. He wanted ‘iron clad guarantees of autonomy’. Suspecting that the State's special status might be lost, Abdullah advocated independence from India, causing New Delhi to dismiss his Government in 1953, and place him under preventive detention.
Abolition of Article 370 has been the long-standing demand of the Kashmir Pundits fleeing genocide in the Kashmir Valley, the Hindus of Jammu as well as the demand of the Buddhists of Ladakh.
In LK Advani's blog this entry posted on Monday, March 22nd, 2010: “India will never allow the constitutional clock to be turned back in respect of the State’s integration with India. Indeed, all that the country wants to achieve now is to move forward to the complete abrogation of Article 370!” Why is this gas-bag LK Advani currently venting hot air? What did he do when he was the Union Home Minister? He never spoke once about the repeal of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
INTRODUCTION OF UNIFORM CIVIL CODE ALL OVER INDIA
In 1972, the then Union Law Minister H R Gokhale had strongly supported a Uniform Civil Code. Article 44 of the Constitution of India declares that “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India.” This Article which is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy is considered fundamental to the governance of the country. Did LK Advani think that the Common Minimum Program of the NDA took precedence over the Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution of India? Why did Advani not bring in legislation to implement the Uniform Civil Code?
ASCERTAINING THE TRUTH OF DEATH OF DR. SYAMA PRASAD MOOKERJEE
Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee resigned from the Union Government expressing sharp differences with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru over his mis-handling of Kashmir. He gave a call for Kashmir’s full integration with India. Dr. Mookerjee toured various parts of the country and then crossed over to J&K State where he was accosted by the J&K police, arrested and taken prisoner. This shocking news electrified the whole country. Tens of thousands of Jana Sangh workers began pouring in from all parts of India, all headed for Kashmir jails. The campaign lasted nearly two months, but it had a tragic denouement! On the night of June 23, 1953 the whole country was shocked to learn that Dr. Mookerji died while in detention. The nation felt outraged at the news of Dr. Mookerji’s martyrdom. Dr. B.C. Roy, Congress Chief Minister of West Bengal, and Dr. Mookerji’s mother wrote very agitatedly to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru urging a thorough enquiry into the tragedy. Dr. Mookerji’s mother publicly declared that her patriotic son was murdered in Sheikh Abdullah’s jail. Comrade Jawaharlal Nehru’s Muslim-appeasing Government was adamant in its pig-headed refusal to order an enquiry.
What prevented this LK Advani, the so-called Loh Purush (Iron Man), the alleged second Sardar Patel from ordering a Magisterial Inquiry into the death in custody of a patriot like Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee when every Naxalite/Maoist murderer and every cut-throat jihadi savage from Pakistan is accorded this privilege?
ESTABLISHING THE WHEREABOUTS OF NETAJI SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSE.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is rumoured to have died in a plane crash at Taipei, Taiwan, on 18 August 1945 while en route to Tokyo and possibly later to the Soviet Union. His body was then allegedly cremated, and a Buddhist memorial service held at Nishi Honganji Temple in Taihoku. However, his alleged disappearance on August 18, i.e. just 3 days after the Japanese surrendered to the British sounds ominous. The absence of his body has led to many theories being put forward concerning his possible survival. Several committees have been set up by the Government of India to probe into this matter. The Inquiry Commission under JUSTICE MUKHERJEE, which investigated the Bose disappearance mystery in the period 1999–2005 approached the Taiwanese government, and obtained information from the Taiwan government that no plane carrying Bose had ever crashed in Taipei, and there was, in fact, no plane crash in Taiwan on 18 August 1945 as alleged. The Mukherjee Commission also received a report originating from the U.S. Department of State supporting the claim of the Taiwan Government that no such air crash took place during that time frame.
However, the Congress Government rejected, without citing reasons, the findings of the Mukherjee Commission, which was tabled in Parliament on 17th May 2006. Does alleged “Loh Purush” LK Advani expect the people of India to be so gullible as to believe that the Common Minimum Program of the NDA prevented him from declassifying all secret files pertaining to the disappearance of our beloved Netaji and ordering an Inquiry into the mystery of his disappearance?