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Following Advani: Answers to your queries

March 17, 2004 21:27 IST

Sajeev from New Delhi
Is Advani essentially a cow-belt politician who often resorts to the basest passions of man?
Pankaj: Advani can't be referred to as a cow-belt politician for sure. He has a larger appeal and a bigger profile. I am not clear what you are referring to as the 'basest passion'. If you are referring to his Bharat Uday Yatra, I must point out that he has not said anything even remotely provocative.

Complete Coverage of Advani's Yatra

Praveen Balakrishnan from Bangalore Nowadays we see a trend where lot of people joining from other parties joining BJP. Won't this weaken party where these people demand for ministership/positions and creating sub groups/party within BJP the same way happened with Congress and Janata Dal?
Pankaj: It sure will and it will be interesting to see how the BJP tackles this. I have been speaking to a lot of BJP workers and they are not at all happy with this. BJP is a cadre-based party, and these newcomers do not understand the 'D' of the party's discipline.

Gauzbig from Los Angeles
Do you think Advani is serious in expressing the view that the minorities of India are safe (irrespective of whether they are outside the pale of HINDUTVA and the exclusivist and divisive agenda of 'cultural nationalism' which he has espoused through out his political career)? Is the present yatra an attempt at reinventing himself as a moderate and is not really aimed at projecting Bharat Uday but 'Advani glowing' in the backdrop of his continued pathetic standing and acceptability amongst voters (less than 2 % in recent surveys)
Pankaj: I have said this before, but no harm in repeating: on this yatra, Advani is a representative of the NDA. He cannot speak anything that may antagonise his allies. Chandrababu Naidu joined Advani in Hyderabad and Uddhav Thackeray and George Fernandes are joining him in Maharashtra on March 19. He can't afford to be the Advani who started a similar yatra from Somnath a decade back.

Click Here for the Yatra Route Map

Chandrakanth from New York
Dear Pankaj, how was the response in Karnataka? Many articles recently said Karnataka is the state BJP is going to make major gains this year. Does the ground situation show any such indications. Also since assembly elections are also being conducted simultaneously, What are the BJP's chances of beating SM Krishna.
Pankaj: Chandrakanth, I was not in Karnataka with Advani. But what I have read in newspapers tells me that the response was good. Advani himself looks very pleased with the response in Karnataka, though he said the response in Kerala and Tamil Nadu left much to be desired. He has said this repeatedly in Maharashtra. Yes, BJP is going to launch a real serious assault on the Krishna government.

Shridhar Jaiswal from Manchester, UK
Will the new secularism agenda of BJP decrease the hindu's votes for bjp in this election?
Pankaj: I doubt it will, Shridhar. I do not see any indication of this happening.

C N Shankar from Chennai
The 'Rath' touches three of the Southern State Capitals except Chennai. In fact it does NOT touch any of the other THREE Metro Cities - Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. It goes through Lucknow, Patna Chandigarh etc. Why?
Pankaj: First, it's not a rath. It's a simple bus decorated with pictures of Advani and Vajpayee. Some speakers in rallies refer to it as a rath yatra. Advani never does. It's very obvious that the yatra is aimed at the rural India, which the BJP believes, and Advani has admitted as much, is untouched by the feel-good factor.

Ravikant from Yavatmal
What will be real outcome for BJP FROM SUCH BIG CAMPAIGN? Mr upadhyay,
Pankaj: I am not a jyothishi to predict the outcome, Ravikant. It's an attempt to make BJP more acceptable to India. It could even be an attempt to make Advani more acceptable to NDA. The outcome? Let's leave it to time.

Sripathi from  Zurich
Can BJP alone make it to the magic figure of 273?
Pankaj: I doubt. I really, really doubt.

Padmanabha from Manipal
Advani is equal to Vallabhai PatelP
Pankaj: That can't be a question. So I won't answer. But even if it were a question, I doubt I would have been able to answer.

Sandeep from London
Why is BJP choosing wrong partners in TN. There was no need for them to drop DMK and have alliance with AIADMK when TN is famous for voting against the ruling party.
Pankaj: Good point, Sandeep. But what was there to choose? DMK-BJP had begun drifting apart after Murasoli Maran took ill -- he was the bridge between the BJP and the DMK. That bridge is gone now. AIADMK was the only option. Let me tell you both the AIADMK and BJP admit privately it is not a very happy alliance.

Carolyn from Truckee
What is the brightest planet in the night sky in California?
Pankaj: This question surely can't be for me. Help, NASA!

Sudhir Pandey from Palinsboro, NJ
Hi Pankaj, this is personal question. By the way are you brother of Umesh who was in Sarojini Nagar School. Thanks, Sudhir.
Pankaj: No Sudhir, I am not.

Dhananjay Sapre from Pune
Dear Mr George, can you explain what you mean when you write "Advani's yatra created communal frenzy in 1990"? If you have guts, can you ask this question to Mr.Advani and seek an answer. I think you owe an answer to the public before making such sweeping statements. After all, you are not a politician, but a responsible journalist, aren't you? Thanks.
George: Yes, the 1990 Advani yatra raised much communal and political tension. Sure, during our election interview, we will certainly ask Advani this question. I think you are unaware of what happened in 1990.

Rajesh Nayak from Udupi
Hi george, having accompanied advaniji for 5 days, have your perception about him changed ,if so in what way?
George: It is a well-managed political road show by the BJP. But having attended many of the ongoing Advani yatra speeches, it seems to me that he is repeating the same things to the voters. He is not a great political speaker, especially during elections, unlike Vajpayee.

Rajesh Nayak from Udupi
Hi george, Do you think being a pro-hindu means one has to be anti-minority? Isn't the reverse logic also true! In that contest how do you rate sonia gandhi who openly seen along with Pope, who pledged to convert whole of india into christianity!
George: No, a pro-Hindu party need not be anti-minority. I don't know whether the reverse is true or not. It is not Sonia Gandhi alone that the Pope met; but the first persons he met when he came to Delhi were Vajpayee and Advani.

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