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Published in the 16-30 June 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Advani in Pakistan: daft or deft?

By I. K. Shukla

The Milli Gazette Online 

Whether Advani committed political suicide or played a craftily calculated gambit in his "about turn" in Pakistan will keep commentators exercised for quite some time.

This ploy was well timed for a long awaited comeuppance. Mrs Sonia Gandhi is due to visit Pakistan later. To undercut her impact by appearing more of a "peacenik" and more "secular" than the Congress and UPA, Advani decided to queer the pitch for the "phoren lady" by offering peace to Pakistan on a verbal platter. Hence it was esential for him to say the things he said, and do the things he did in Karachi.

Via violence and terror he paved the BJP's way to power. It has slipped away, and he is desperate. The architect of BJP's ascent to power should not be written off so soon, he seems to proclaim.

RSS having been decalred, however belatedly, a terrorist outfit, Advani did some fast thinking. The peaceful way to power for BJP, he avers, is both the compulsion of the saffrofascists at this juncture, when egregious extremism and fundamentalism are internationally out of favor with the imperialist warlords, and also an imperative political sleight of hand, a tactical maneuver, an ineluctable makeover.

Is there something he knows and we don't? Washington, as the watchdog of its global and corporate interests, ill affords a climate of unrest and turmoil in the subcontinent. Has he inferred as much from his political savvy or been made privy to this formulation at Foggy Bottom? As a proud and avid pro-"reform" pointsman, he can be trusted. He said indirectly, he must be trusted. Karachi was the ideal location for such a submission. International corridors of power and policy wonks will hear it loud and clear. Advani volunteered his services to the imperium.

As to the fulminations of fire-eaters like Ashok Singhal and Giriraj Kishore, much should not be made of it. Advani is no less a fire-eater. They are forgetting that this Karachi maneuver may have been dictated by Advani's calculation that to win over the Muslim vote bank at home, in the run up to the next federal and state elections, this is a very opportune moment to play to the gallery and dupe the Indian Muslims. What could be more genuine a demonstration of his change of heart than his paean to Jinnah on the Pak soil itself, and his demonstrative remorse ("saddest day", Dec. 6, 1992, of Babri Demolition)? He had called it his proudest day. Ask Katiyar, the Faizabad Bajrangi, and Gauri Advani, his ex-daughter- in- law. Islamabad has thus been assured by Advani that he and BJP are more peace-minded, more amity-minded than the Congress of Sonia Gandhi.

As to secularism, Advani's concern and love for it is wildly contrary both to the fascist ideology he is sworn to and his whole poltical career built on theo-terrorist exclusivism and bloody xenophobia, exemplified time and again in his blood and fire Yatras. Modi, the Butcher of Gujarat, is his model of the best CM, he has repeatedly emphasized. So, it seems likely that he would prove his epitaph-writers wrong or premature. 

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