Anti-Advani protests in
Allahabad June 9 led by Shiv Sena
Episode Leaves Deep Cracks as Crisis Continues
DELHI, June 12: Although BJP Leader LK Advani has retained his
top party position, he has not come out of the resignation episode
unscathed and clearly Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi has emerged as the
obvious alternative to take over the party, backed strongly by
the uncompromising Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
of the Sangh Parivar say Advani’s second tenure as the Party
Chief is understood by all to be a stop gap arrangement till the
Bihar Assembly elections to keep the NDA intact. Dr. Joshi may
have the mantle in the next National Executive Committee meeting
slated next year.
VHP has clearly stated that it would not accept Advani as the
BJP Chief and it would not even hesitate to form a new political
party. This means that the VHP would not mind breaking up the
BJP. This also shows that the days ahead for Advani may be more
stormy. (Pix Left shows protestors burning an Advani effigy in
Allahabad on June 9)
Advani withdrew his resignation when he realized that former Prime
Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi had
surreptitiously joined hands and that he would become irrelevant.
The withdrawal of resignation deepened the inner crisis of the
Sangh Parivar instead of resolving the dispute.
The VHP has severely criticized the withdrawal of resignation
by Advani and top leaders of the organization are meeting in the
holy city of Haridwar on June 15 and 16 to chalk out their future
strategy against Advani. The formation of a new Hindu hard line
political party cannot be ruled out.
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had tacitly supported Dr.
Murli Manohar Joshi during the two-day crisis. Vajpayee’s
right-hand man Mahesh Sharma had contacted Joshi at his official
residence on June 8. This had deepened the inner crisis of the
Joshi came out openly and criticized Advani’s statement
on Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah. It is to be noted that it
was Dr. Joshi who thwarted all attempts of the Advani loyalists
to pass the resolution in Advani’s favor in the Parliamentary
Board meeting held in Delhi on June 8.
variety of leaders of the BJP had also come openly in support
of Dr. Joshi. The Chief Minister of Jharkhand Babu Lal Marandi
was the new entrant in the list of the Joshi supporters. Privileged
sources told the South Asia Tribune that Dr. Joshi had
spoken to the RSS Chief KS Sudarshan on Saturday, June 11.
presence of a Vajpayee loyalist, Mahesh Sharma at Dr. Joshi’s
official residence at 6, Raisina Road was meaningful. Mahesh Sharma
is one of the Vajpayee-trio, viz. Lalji Tandon, Mahesh Sharma
and Shiv Kumar Parikh. All of them take care of Vajpayee’s
Parliamentary constituency Lucknow.
correspondent saw Mahesh Sharma at Joshi’s residence who
was preparing the Press Note for Dr. Joshi prior to his press
conference in which Joshi did not name Advani but openly disagreed
with him by saying Jinnah could not be called secular.
said: “We don’t agree with anybody who calls Jinnah
as secular. He was responsible for the partition of this country.
He followed the two-nation theory and lakhs of people died during
the press conference, this correspondent talked to Dr. Joshi and
asked him whether he was aiming to become the next Chief of the
BJP to which he replied: “At present Lal Krishna Advani
is the President of the Party, and I have no difference with him.”
asked if he is in contact with other leaders on this issue, Dr.
Joshi did not respond directly. He only said: “I am always
in the contact with the leaders of the RSS and VHP and if the
time comes for the election of the new Chief, it would be decided
by the whole Party.”
To a question whether he is getting support from other quarters
over his stand against Advani’s statement on Jinnah, Dr.
Joshi said: “It is not because of my stand. I have taken
this stand in the larger interest of our Party, and whosoever
is related to the doctrines would support it. You must be clear
that I am not lobbying for anything.”
asked if he has any tacit support of Mr. Vajpayee, he said: “Don’t
jump to conclusions.”
Joshi has always been a favorite of the RSS. He was very close
to the ex-RSS Chief Bala Saheb Deoras’s younger brother
Bhau Saheb Deoras. Bhau Saheb Deoras was entrusted with the responsibility
to look after the political affairs of the BJP and during this
time Joshi was appointed the BJP Chief in 1992.
his regime the Babri Mosque at Ayodhya was demolished on December
6, 1992. After the demolition, Lal Krishna Advani and Atal Behari
Vajpayee expressed grief over the incident but Dr. Joshi remained
firm on his stand. This increased his acceptability among the
after the sudden demise of Bhau Saheb Deoras, Advani and his coterie
took over. Dr. Joshi became irrelevant yet due to support from
Prof. Rajendra Singh “Rajju Bhaiyya”, he
could not be completely sidelined.
Saheb Deoras appointed Prof. Rajendra Singh as the RSS Chief during
his lifetime, but by then Advani and his men had gained full power.
When Sudershan became the Chief, Advani was able to completely
sideline Dr. Joshi, as Sudershan and Advani happen to be close
even tried to send Dr. Joshi to Uttaranchal as the Chief Minister,
but he refused to go there, and remained a player in national
politics. Advani could not completely obliterate him on account
of the strong support Joshi enjoys from the VHP, Bajrang Dal and
Swadeshi Jagran Manch.
say that during the regime of the NDA, the RSS and other right-winger
organizations opposed the policies of the NDA and diluted the
Hindutva ideology. Advani along with Vajpayee became the targets.
say that Advani was also averse to the idea of making Jaswant
Singh the Party Chief as a stop gap arrangement. This would have
resulted in handing over the organizational key in Vajpayee’s
hands with whom Advani has grave differences.
the other hand the Party organizations of three States viz. Uttar
Pradesh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh were supporting Dr. Joshi
barring some voices of dissent. But the majority of the State
office bearers were in Joshi’s favor. This also prompted
Advani to quickly withdraw his resignation before he could become
VHP, meanwhile, continues to attack Advani over the resignation
issue. Talking to the South Asia Tribune, International
Vice President of the VHP, Acharya Giriraj Kishore said: “Advani
has shown his moral weakness by withdrawing his resignation and
this certainly will weaken the Party. It also shows his political
ambitions and his political dreams.”
asked about the future strategy of the VHP, Kishore said: “Our
leaders and Sadhu-Sants are meeting in Haridwar after a few days.
We would discuss the matter and we will explore other political
whether the VHP will float another pro-Hindutva Party, Kishore
said: “May be. This option cannot be ruled out in the present
VHP General Secretary Praveen Togadia told the South Asia
Tribune on telephone from Ahmedabad: “Advani's resignation
was a drama and the Hindu community will never forgive him for
this. He has betrayed the whole nation."
(BJP) have passed a resolution as a compromise in which they have
said that Jinnah was not secular and the BJP rejects his two-nation
theory. But we don’t want resolutions. We want ideology
and its practical implementation in social and political life.”