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Advani reaches out to the RSS

July 01, 2005 23:56 IST

Under attack from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for calling Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah secular, Bharatiya Janata Party president Lal Kishenchand Advani on Friday sought to reinforce his "Hindutva" image and said the Sangh Parivar fountainhead had played an important role in the fight to restore democracy during the Emergency.

"The Rath Yatra was not only for construction of Ram temple but also for spreading the correct meaning of secularism among people," Advani said at a party function in Bhopal. "All citizens of the country are equals. There will be no discrimination. If a Muslim has the right to be proud of Islam, a Hindu like me also has a right to be proud of Hindutva," he said, drawing applause from party workers.

"I don not agree with the ideology of psuedo-secularists that Christians are proud of Christianity, Muslims are proud of Islam but when Hindus are proud of Hindutva it becomes communal," the BJP chief said.

In an apparent bid to clarify his statements on Jinnah, Advani said, "I told them (people of Pakistan) that your founder believed that once the new nation was formed, there should be no religious discrimination.

"If they (Pakistan) have made a new beginning, it is appreciable," he said.

Advani also said that the Jan Sangh and the RSS played a significant role in restoring democracy in India.

Referring to the BJP's stand during the Emergency and Ram temple movement, he said, "People should be made aware of these incidents, which had helped BJP to emerge stronger. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh and the RSS had played a vital role in strengthening Indian democracy."


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