|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
After RSS, BJP too fine with Advani's yatra
March 14, 2006 12:20 IST
Last Updated: March 14, 2006 13:33 IST
A day after the Rashtriya Svayamsevak Sangh backed L K Advani's proposed National Integration Yatra, the Bharatiya Janata Party Parliamentary party also endorsed the controversial programme on Tuesday. Advani, the leader of Opposition, said 'it would change the course of national politics'.
Planning to embark on the yatra from Gujarat on April 6, Advani asserted that 'whenever the Congress party has indulged in minorityism and the BJP has exposed it, the political situation in the country underwent a sea change'.
The former BJP president was responding to a query from a party member who wanted him 'to clear the confusion' about the yatra, which was announced in the wake of the Varanasi blasts. BJP deputy leader in Lok Sabha, Vijay Kumar Malhotra briefed the press about this, after a 45-minute meeting of the Parliamentary party.
BJP president Rajnath Singh will also be undertaking the Yatra, most probably from Lucknow.
However, it is Advani's yatra that has become controversial because of the previous ones he has conducted and also due to reported differences that have cropped up within the BJP and the Sangh Parivar on the issue.
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who chaired the meeting, did not make any comments. However, in a virtual endorsement of the yatra, party members thumped the desks after Advani explaines its objectives.
Dismissing reports that the RSS had reservations on the issue, RSS Chief K S Sudarshan had said on Monday that it would extend full support to any effort to create public awareness against threats posed to national unity and integrity.
Charging the party's opponents with indulging in 'propaganda' against the yatra, Advani said the proposed programme would 'not cause any tension' and reach out to the masses, particularly the rural populace, who do not get to attend public meetings.
"There is no better alternative to a yatra in a democracy and it would help in exposing the minorityism practised by the United Progressive Alliance government. These include the amendments to the Foreigners' Act and the religious reservations in Andhra Pradesh and the Aligarh Muslim University," Malhotra said, quoting Advani.
Advani also alleged that the U C Banerjee Committee report on the Godhra train fire was aimed at 'saving the guilty for the sake of vote bank politics'. He slammed the government for trying to 'communalise' the armed forces through the headcount proposed by the Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee.
The people of India, Advani said, were 'anguished' by these deeds of the ruling coalition and, by exposing them, the 'yatra would change the course of national politics as it has done in the past'.
Advani's Somnath-Ayodhya rathyatra in 1990 had catapulted the party into the centrestage of Indian politics. But his Bharat UdayYatra, ahead of the 2004 Lok Sabha polls failed to deliver.
Malhotra said the twin yatra will skip the five poll-bound states but both Advani and Rajnath Singh would take breaks and campaign for the polls. The routes and dates of the Yatras will be finalised at a meeting of state party presidents and organising secretaries on March 17, he said.