L K Advani's resignation as Bharatiya Janata Party president was in reaction to Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia's comment that he was a 'traitor'.
"Advani was deeply hurt by the word gaddar (traitor). On hearing it from one section of the (Sangh) Parivar he decided to resign," said a senior Advani confidant and party office-bearer while talking exclusively to rediff.com.
"Advani believed he could not continue as party president if a Parivar member called him a gaddar," said the aide. "We were told in Karachi about this comment and the news disturbed him.He then decided to resign."
The furore arose over Advani's comment in Pakistan in support of Mohammed Ali Jinnah. According to his supporters, Advani's statement marks a paradigm shift in the party's core ideology.
"Advani quoted only one portion of Jinnah's speech. He did not say that Jinnah's whole life was secular! His speech in the Pakistan Constituent Assembly which Advani quoted from, has been suppressed in Pakistan for many years. The Pakistan government wants us to believe that Jinnah never made this speech. Why don't people look at the facts? Jinnah died soon after making this speech, and his speech was suppressed," the Advani aide said, strongly defending his leader.
Within the BJP, Advani's supporters have been arguing passionately since yesterday that he said many more things beyond Jinnah in Pakistan which are being ignored.
"He did not only speak about Jinnah, he supported secular values in governance. He talked about the non-theocratic State. Why are his critics only looking at what he said about Jinnah?" asked his confidant. "People must also look at the fact that for the first time, an Indian politician was invited to inaugurate a temple in a land with a history of demolition of Hindu temples."
Asked why Advani chose to make such far-reaching comments in Pakistan and not in India, the aide said, "The leadership can't be a prisoner of perceptions, leadership is all about changing perceptions and evolving new ideas."
He added, "Wait and watch, the BJP will accept Advani's ideas."