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Updated: March 28, 2011 17:31 IST

I never used the word ‘opportunistic': Arun Jaitley

Special Correspondent
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BJP leader Arun Jaitley. File photo
The Hindu BJP leader Arun Jaitley. File photo

He does not explain what exactly he told U.S. diplomat on Hindutva nationalism

Following the latest WikiLeaks exposé published in The Hindu, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley maintained on Saturday that he never used the phrase ‘opportunistic' in his 2005 conversation with the Charge in the U.S. Embassy, Robert Blake, in the context of nationalism or Hindu nationalism.

In a brief statement, confirming the conversation he had with Mr. Blake, Mr. Jaitley said it was neither his view nor his language, and it could be the diplomat's own usage. “The cable reflects my views on cross-border terrorism, illegal infiltration from Bangladesh and the unfair denial of a U.S. visa to the Gujarat Chief Minister. However, the use of the word ‘opportunistic' in reference to nationalism or Hindu nationalism is neither my view nor my language. It could be the diplomat's own usage.”

But Mr. Jaitley did not to explain what exactly he had told Mr. Blake on Hindutva nationalism, which led the senior diplomat to resort to the phrase in the cable.

Embarrassment

Coming as it did days after the BJP launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress on the cash-for-votes exposé, the latest cable amounted to a serious embarrassment to the party.

For Hindutva ideologues, it is nothing short of blasphemy when a senior BJP leader dubs the very basis of the party's ideology as politics of opportunism.

The Sangh Parivar never forgave the former Deputy Prime Minister and party veteran, L.K. Advani, for his controversial remarks on Jinnah in 2005 during a visit to Pakistan; ultimately he had to step down as BJP president.

Adverse impact

Senior BJP leaders and political analysts feel the latest exposé could adversely impact Mr. Jaitley's political ambitions in the faction-ridden party. The turf war for the mantle of leadership was evident recently when a section sought to corner Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj over her ‘forget and forgive' tweet after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh owned responsibility for the appointment of P.J. Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner.

A few hours after Ms. Swaraj tweeted, senior party leaders, including Mr. Jaitley, insisted that the issue was far from over. Days later, party president Nitin Gadkari “snubbed” Ms. Swaraj. She termed it an interpretation of the media, but conceded that Mr. Gadkari overruled her.

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It's high time BJP blokes came to their senses. This country and its people need good governance and a return of their hard work (8% growth). Govt has only facilitated this growth and has not done anything directly. The real hard work is done by the people, while billions have been looted from our state coffers by rags-to-riches politicians like Mr Raja. We dont need hindutva or saffron party or a jihadi outfit like SIMI. We need TOILETS, roads, clean drinking water, hospitals and good education. If any govt can provide these I will cast my precious vote, else the looters in the fray can buy their votes for rs 50 or 1kg rice- I care a damn!

from:  Samrat Ashok
Posted on: Mar 27, 2011 at 11:38 IST

The timing of leak could not be as worse if not worst, for shaking the belief of the common man. With the scams surfacing all over, it looks like reality is more reelistic than real. More often it looks like a movie plot of 1980s. Though, it makes one thing very clear "iss hamam mai sab nange hai". Opportunism is the only principal which seems to be practiced by our beloved politicians. Cutting across the party line they belong to originally. This leak has validated the notion that development politics is still nonexistent in the country. Opposition is just opposed to the government policies because they are in opposition. Opposition has forgotten its basic role to keep the checks and balance in government functioning, not just to create hindrances. Founding fathers of constitution were successful in copying the parliamentary form of government but failed to teach how it functions to the parliamentarians. Now comes Mr. Jaitley on remarks on opportunistic Hindutva nationalism, politicians from other party are behaving as if he has said something which people don't know. Before this we had a minister dividing the general public in cattle class and business class and now we have a home minister who thinks development would be more prominent if scissor applied on eastern and northern states, so dividing the country. Do we still need foreign forces to divide this country? This piece of information might add to the minister's knowledge that many of the resources both mineral and human needed for the development of the developed part comes from these regions itself. Though, now he declines to have said anything like that. We can just hope that this is not the mindset of the government itself but of an individual with conservative outlook. Till this leak, I didn't have any logical reason for as to why even after six decades of independence from foreign yoke we are still a developing nation. This leaked information seems to be tip of the iceberg; the problem goes much deeper than our eyes can see. Last but not the least, either both PM Manmohan Singh and Arun Jaitley is guilty of breach of people's trust, if at all going by the leaked information or else it is just wastage of time and tax payers money.

from:  Kanishk Singh
Posted on: Mar 27, 2011 at 10:04 IST

It is evident from recent ongoings that neither Sushma nor Arun have the leadership quality to lead BJP. The benchmark set by Ataljee is very high and, unfortunately, no leader in any party in India is near that. The only person who comes closest, with interest of India in heart, who is honest, who is hard working, is Narender Modi. Congress and UPA leadership is very well aware of this and this is why he is always being blamed by the Pro-Congress media, vested Islamic group for Gujarat Riots. Many thousands have riots taken place in India since 1947, least to forget 1984 against Sikhs, but media tries to hide it all the time.

from:  S. Prakash
Posted on: Mar 27, 2011 at 06:14 IST

I dont think Mr.Jaitley's views on Hinduvta should be seen as a deviation from the BJP's fundamental core policy ,but as a reflection of the thinking of the second rung leaders ,who are more pragmatic and mellowed down due to the party's reverses in the past. Many of the people and the Media believed, that the results of the last General Elections would be a close one and in fact, it would be the BJP which would emerge as the single largest party as per the Exit polls. I personally thought, Vajpayeeji did a wonderful job and desrved another term, but we Indians have this habit of shooting ourselves in the foot , when it comes to making important decisions.But that did not happen, and it has and must have dawned on the leaders-in-waiting like Mr.Jaitley that holding on to the core 'Hindu' only philosophy of the party , is not sufficient to win them sufficient numbers in the parliament to rule. So, it is a pragmatic shift on their part to arrest this alienation of the party from people of other religious affiliations, including, if possible the muslims , as Modi seems to have demonstrated skillfully in Gujarat. That seems to the political model which the second rung leaders of BJP like Mr.Jaitley seems to have come around to believe strongly. I tend to believe Mr.Jaitley that 'opportunistic' may not be the word used by him, or if it was used, may not be in intent.Hinduism has a history of being exploited and its practitioners have been 'converted 'by force during the Mughal rule and later by inducements by others as well, but it has never behaved as an opportunistic religion anytime in history. I feel it is welcome change to move BJP from an 'isolationist' course to a more inclusive one and make it a winning combination. Atleast, Mr.Jaitley has the guts to confirm the authenticity of the Wikileak, while our 'honest PM' hides behind the 'unverifiable' theory. I hope people see this difference and be wise enough next time around.

from:  K.S.Ranganathan
Posted on: Mar 27, 2011 at 06:05 IST
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