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An open letter to Sri L.K. Advani

Sudheendra Kulkarni is a journalist who has been close to A.B. Vajpayee and L.K. Advani and has worked with them in various capacities. Prior to that he edited Blitz and worked for the Hindujas, looking after their ‘communication and public relations’ needs. He has been taking pot shots at Advani’s detractors and providing alibis defending the indefensible deeds of his political mentor through his articles. If you talk shit about Modi, the largely pro-Congress media celebrates you. Kulkarni knows this and thus is basking in temporary glory. However, he knows very little about the BJP and the RSS and the factors that caused the rise of these organizations. I knew Sudheendra Kulkarni when he was in Mumbai. So I wrote to him pointing out the fallacies in his sycophantic article at Rediff.com. Based on that letter, I have now written this open letter to L.K. Advani, BJP’s patriarch.

Dear Advani Ji,

Sudheendra Kulkarni has been writing articles in your support and I am sure they will be acting as soothing balm to your hurt sentiments. He has also been meeting you regularly and his articles may have your tacit support. Why does he have to write articles like these? And he has written that you may stage a rebellion. Are you planning to do that? He is close to you and thus must be aware of your plans. Why does he have to invent lame alibis to defend you and your reputation? He has also raised the bogey of RSS. Do you agree with him on that?

Please enlighten me on one issue. According to Kulkarni you are ‘the 85-year-old super-fit patriarch’. If that is so, why could you not call up your party men and express your feelings to them instead of writing your resignation letter that was filled with damning innuendos? You also released it to the media yourself. No ‘truthful’ ‘super-fit’ patriarch does something like this, washing the dirty linen of the family in the open unless he has a malicious personal agenda or has turned completely senile. It was an undignified deed and a grave error of judgment on your part.

He compared you to Sonia with regard to her supreme sacrifice in not becoming the PM. It is a wrong comparison. Sonia Gandhi does not use the media to communicate with her party men. She has proved herself a far better leader than you. She served her party’s cause better by pulling back in time and bringing in Manmohan Singh to lead the government. She did not want another Hindu polarization over her foreign origin issue. That would have benefited the BJP. It was a sensible move on her part for her party and the groups whose interests she is supposed to protect. On the other hand, your resignation letter served the interest of the opponents of the Sangh Parivar, provided an excuse to JD (U) to put in action its long-contemplated plan to do a Naveen Patnaik in Bihar, and attempted to thwart the renewal and resurgence of BJP. 

Your resignation letter was either a stupid move reeking of an old man’s malice towards a younger leader or a deliberate attempt to damage the credibility of your party. What stops you from talking and reasoning things out with your party men or even Modi? And why do you expect everyone to agree with your point of view? People have agreed enough with you and your wrong policies in the past out of respect. The BJP is not in the doldrums because of Modi. It’s in the doldrums because of you and your myopic self-centered attitude and politicking.

And Vajpayee and you did not build the BJP alone. In fact, you rode to power on the shoulders of hard-working BJP and RSS workers who sacrificed so much for you. You cannot be compared with Deendayal Ji who planned, organized, and supervised the phenomenal rise of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh and created a strong ideological platform for it with his  ‘Ekatm Manavvad’, based on contemporary interpretation of ideas culled from our hoary cultural traditions. After his unfortunate passing away, Jan Sangh was on the path of continuous decline (1969-1975) under the leadership of Vajpayee and you.

Both of you were bereft of ideas and approaches to take the organization on the growth path and the Party faced serious debacles in the Assembly and Parliamentary elections after the departure of Deendayal Ji. What’s more, you marginalized and forced Nana Ji Deshmukh into a vanvaas. The Bhartiya Jan Sangh was no more the party of Deendayal Ji, and Nana Ji Deshmukh since you took over its leadership. Yet you evoke their names in your resignation letter presuming that none would remember the past.

Then came the JP Movement. Vajpayee and you had nothing to do with it, neither ideologically nor organizationally. The ABVP, and the Sangh Parivar were in the forefront of the movement and it saw the return of Nana Ji Deshmukh who had virtually withdrawn himself from actiive public life. The Emergency came in its wake. Thousands of Sangh Parivar workers were jailed and they were the ones who suffered the most among all political prisoners in post-independent India. Most of them were not even political activists. Post Emergency, the Janata Party fought the elections sitting on the shoulders of these workers who toiled hard for it. The Janata Party government was formed. The most impressive wins for the party came from the pockets where the Parivar had maximum influence. Soon, some of the over-ambitious Janata Party leaders used the RSS bogey to destroy the Party and its government. Raj Narayan, George Fernandes and his cohorts like Lalu, Sharad Yaadav, and Nitish Kumar led them. You were forced to leave Janata Party and the BJP was formed under the leadership of Vajpayee and you.

What happened after that? Apart from having been reduced to two seats in the Parliament, the best you could do was to invent the slogan of ‘Gandhian Socialism’. It was nothing more than a slogan. You could have written some approach paper on the subject but you did not.

Yet again it was the Sangh Parivar that came up with the grand idea of the Ramjanmbhoomi Movement and revived the fortunes of the BJP.  You climbed on to the bandwagon much later after the movement had grown and spread across the nation post the horrific crackdown over Karsevaks by Mulayam Singh. Singhal and Togadia still rue the day when they allowed you to hijack the movement.

Your man Kulkarni says, ‘This is perhaps because he (Advani) may genuinely believe, and rightly so, that he still has something vital to contribute to the nation and to the party that he has so painstakingly built.’ Firstly, it is so wrong and immoral to say that you built the BJP and brought it to power. You did not. You actually weakened it. You squandered the opportunities that came your way.  You always rode to power on the shoulders of the Parivar and appointed people like Kulkarni as your advisers who dare to badmouth it with your tacit approval today.

Who started the personality cult in the BJP? Vajpayee and you were the supreme leaders who could never be questioned. You undermined the Parivar and marginalized great organizations like VHP, ABVP, BMS and the rest, the ones that had labored hard to ensure your political survival and were at the peak of their glory when you came to power with no help from Vajpayee or you. And the decedent five-star culture started with leaders like Pramod Mahajan, your blue-eyed boy. That is when the BJP moved away from the path of Deendayalji, a person who always travelled in second class railway compartment with his meagre belongings in spite of leading the biggest opposition to the mighty Congress and having been the main architect of an anti-Congress political phalanx. What’s more, you were anything but a ‘Lauh Purush’. You were neither a great Home Minister nor a man of ideas, yet the Parivar stood by you and let you run the affairs the way you had wanted. 

Your loyal cohort Kulkarni attributes the 2009 defeat of the BJP to ‘certain party leaders and the Sangh Parivar’ who had weakened you. What a canard? He is so dishonest. He is inventing a laughable alibi. He goes on to say, “In Advani’s case, he was indeed debilitated by the Sangh Parivar, which no longer believed in him and which, moreover, stoked the leadership ambitions of some in the so-called ‘second generation’ functionaries of the BJP."

Do you agree with Kulkarni’s ridiculous surmise? If you do, even by .0001%, you will be the most ungrateful, dishonest, and wily politician in the country who does not deserve to be respected at all. Do you really believe you can hold a successful public meeting on your own?  You can have a few paean-singing ‘darbaris’ around you but in reality, apart from the Parivar, none really cares for you. You have never had a mass following and have lived off the blood, tears, sweat and supreme sacrifice of the Parivar workers across the nation who looked up to you to give voice to their idea of ‘cultural nationalism,’ and in spite of repeated betrayals of their grand philosophy, stood by you. It’s another thing that you got delusional, and suffered from the serious affliction of projecting a liberal-secular media image to create a mass base for yourself, with no success.

Kulkarni says, “Advani’s message serves a timely warning to the party against its own impending downfall. The way forward for the BJP, if it is to avoid being marginalized and even decimated in the forthcoming general elections, is to reinstate Advani as its guiding force, ably assisted by a team of nimble second-rung leaders.” He is trying to convince us in a way that all these years the BJP existed because of Nitish Kumars and Naveen Patnaiks since both loved you and would make you the PM of this country out of that love.

He is an idiot or what? They loved Vajpayee and you because you let them have a free run to the detriment of your own organization. And should you lead the BJP and the nation just because you can get the support of Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee? What will you do after becoming the Prime Minister – remain at the bidding of these regional satraps? I wish you could have written a book on the governance of this nation outlining your vision of India instead of your self-aggrandizing biographical tome. In the past nine years you have done nothing except embarking on an ill-conceived and failed anti-corruption ‘rathyatra,’ and indulged in crony politicking, and strangely, sought ardently the approval and acceptance of Sonia, Rahul, and Manmohan who look down upon you and miss no opportunity to humiliate you within the Parliament and outside it. What did you do in the past nine years to expand the BJP’s base under your leadership and guidance? 

The BJP as well as the NDA have actually shrunk in the last nine years while you have been at the helm. Vajpayee and you, both decimated the BJP in important states like UP, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and West Bengal. Your foolishness and crony politicking decimated the BJP in Karnataka recently. Had Vajpayee not been stopped in 2002 by the Sangh Parivar, he would have handed over Gujarat on a platter to the Congress party to refurbish his media image as a secular universally acceptable leader. Let us see if the BJP rejuvenates itself in Bihar after all these years when Vajpayee and you made the state BJP and its leaders and cadre subservient to the cause of Nitish Kumar and JD (U).

Kulkarni accuses that the RSS controls the BJP. You know it does not. Did you tell him to say so? He probably says this because the RSS censured you for your Jinnah remarks. The RSS was merely expressing the views of millions of its workers. That’s what it does, expresses what its workers feel. I recall even at that time you would communicate with your party men through media-persons like Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sirdesai, the known anti-BJP and pro-Sonia journalists who were more than willing to broadcast your dissent to the discomfiture of the Parivar. 

Kulkarni believes that you will be the uniting pole around which all anti-Congress forces will gravitate. Do you also believe in it? Do you think Nitish Kumar and Mamata Banerjee want to see you as the Prime Minister of this country? Are you aware how disgusted the people of this country are with you? You cannot win a Parliamentary election on your own even in Ulhasnagar. You have also alienated the Sangh Parivar workers now with your pathetic and reprehensible resignation drama. And if you continue with your covert and overt shenanigans, using your loyal minions like Kulkarni, you will become a persona non grata within the Parivar and will not even be accorded the customary respect.

And trust me, outside the Parivar, none will even touch you with a barge pole. The opponents of the Parivar can only use you as a convenient subterfuge to hurt and embarrass it. It’s pure foolhardiness if Kulkarni or you really believe that the Islamists and the secularists hate you less than Narendra Modi and will find you more acceptable.

And here are a few last words. Have you given this phenomenon a serious thought as to why every media person, columnist, commentator, serving and retired judge, political and social activist, and government agency, who has been a rabid opponent of the Sangh Parivar in general and the BJP in particular, has been going out of the way to thwart Modi’s emergence on the national scene?  There must be a reason for that. Do you seriously believe that they are opposing and bad-mouthing Modi to serve some great national cause or to help you become the PM? Even a child can make out that they are panicky and deeply worried. They think Modi’s rise will cause a kind of national polarization that will bring the BJP back to power. While you use Sudheendra Kulkarni as your hatchet man to settle scores with Modi, they are using you to keep the Sangh Parivar down, the Parivar that has given you everything. You will be a non-entity without it and I am sure you know it unless you have turned too megalomaniacal to comprehend this obious political reality.

Had Kulkarni been your true well wisher, he would have been advising you correctly instead of writing such articles to stoke your megalomania by advancing fallacious alibis.

Regards

Rajesh Kumar Singh