Lal Krishna Advani: The man who lost his destination

Advani in Pakistan (Image Courtesy: Sify Dot Com)

-Soroor Ahmed

Exactly half way between December 6, 1992 and the same date 25 years later––that is in the first week of June 2005––the leading light of the Hindutva movement, Lal Krishna Advani, made a trip to Pakistan. It was in the country of his birth that he drove the last nail in the coffin of the ideology he assiduously nursed for so many years.

On June 2, he said Partition was “an unalterable reality of history”.  Two days later after visiting the grave of its founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, he saluted him as a great secularist.

That was the time that he inadvertently paved the way for the growth of Moditva, an idea which had its birth during the high time of Gujarat riots of 2002.

This raises a pertinent question: as to what is the difference between Hindutva and Moditva. Though there is no such dictionary in Political Science which defines the two differently Hindutva is an idea which was championed by the Sangh Parivar when its political organization, the BJP, was out of power––in fact it was very weak.

It was with the help of this ideology that the party grew to reach its peak at the time of demolition of Babri Masjid exactly a quarter century back.

The golden era of Hindutva was between 1988 and 1998. Once the BJP came to power in alliance with two dozen parties in 1998 it softened its stand a great deal. So between 1998 and 2004––barring the Gujarat riots––the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, in many respects, sounded more secular than the Narasimha Rao government between 1991 and 1996.

Thus one can conclude that Hindutva can flourish only when the BJP is in opposition, when there is enough scope to whip up people’s passion and incite  violence. But once in power the same party became responsible. Not only on communal front, Prime Minister Vajpayee went out of way to extend the hands of friendship to the Kashmiri militants and Pakistan.

However, it was during the high time of the Vajpayee rule that the idea of Moditva started taking shape.

The internal conflict between Hindutva and Moditva led to the unexpected rout of the NDA on May 13, 2004. Vajpayee’s advice to the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi after the riots to follow Raj Dharam did not go down well with a sizeable section of the party.

Anyway the NDA lost and Vajpayee was sidelined––there was no Marg Darshak Mandal then––and Advani was once again given the charge.  The rank and file of the party once again thought that they will find in Advani a leader of early 1990s. But once out of power he became totally confused as what line should the party adopt.

A year later he made a trip to his ‘janamsthan’ and uttered something unthinkable.

That was his end. Within a year after Vajpayee’s exit Advani became a sort of outcast within the Parivar.

In Moditva, the saffron brigade found an idea which is as aggressive in power as in opposition. And this was yielding results in Gujarat.

However, Advani continued to carry the coffin of Hindutva till September 13, 2013, when Modi finally replaced him as the prime ministerial candidate.

Eight months later, Modi became the prime minister of the country. The Sangh think tank, perhaps consciously, opted for Modi. They thought that if the BJP wins under Advani, the champion  of Hindutva would adopt the softer line as was done between 1998 and 2004.

Twenty five years after leading independent India’s biggest movement the senior most Marg Darshak might have been pondering as to how had he lost the destination––he could never become the prime minister of the country.


(The writer is a Patna-based freelance journalist).


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