The Jinnah controversy underlined that there is no second generation BJP leader who can currently bridge the two BJP camps like Advani.

34527 6/13/2005 11:43 05NEWDELHI 4447 Embassy New Delhi CONFIDENTIAL 05NEWDELHI4232 | 05NEWDELHI4270 | 05NEWDELHI4315 "This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available." "C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 004447

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/13/2015 TAGS: PGOV, IN, Indian Domestic Politics SUBJECT: ADVANI WITHDRAWS RESIGNATION AND RETURNS TO THE FOLD

REF: A. NEW DELHI 4315 B. NEW DELHI 4270 C. NEW DELHI 4232

Classified By: Charge Bob Blake, for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)

1. (C) Summary: On June 10, LK Advani withdrew his resignation as BJP party President in response to unrelenting pressure from the party leadership. He accepted a compromise formula which credits him for a successful trip to Pakistan, while criticizing Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Advani's return demonstrated the power of the RSS and its Hindu nationalist allies and their continued dominance over the BJP, and will likely increase the party's political decline. End Summary.

Back to the Fold

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2. (U) The ""crisis"" in the BJP was resolved on June 10 when LK Advani accepted a statement issued by the party leadership and withdrew his withdrawal letter (reftels). The BJP statement made the following points:

-- Advani's visit to Pakistan ""brought the people of India and Pakistan closer together, helped remove a mountain of misunderstanding between them and has taken the momentum of better relations to a new level.

-- Advani did not ""describe (Pakistan's founder) Muhammad Ali Jinnah as secular, ""but ""reminded the people of Pakistan of its founder's address to the country's constituent Assembly in which he had urged full freedom of faith for all its citizens and no discrimination between its citizens of grounds of religion.""

--""The BJP reiterates that whatever may have been Jinnah's vision of Pakistan, the state he founded is theocratic and non-secular.""

--There can be no revisiting the reality that Jinnah led a communal agitation to achieve his goal of Pakistan, which devoured thousands of innocent people in its wake and dispossessed millions from their homes and livelihoods.""

--""The very idea of Hindus and Muslims being two separate nations is repugnant to the BJP. It has always condemned the division of India on communal lines and continues to steadfastly reject the two-nation theory championed by Jinnah.""

Comment

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3. (U) The BJP statement contradicts the historical record, as the ""two nation theory"" first originated with the Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) camp rather than Jinnah. In 1923, BJP hero and progenitor of Hindutva Vinayak Damodar Savarkar wrote ""India cannot be assumed today to be a Unitarian and homogeneous nation, but on the contrary there are two nations in the main: the Hindus and the Moslems in India."" In 1943 he stated that ""I have no quarrel with Mr. Jinnah's two-nation theory: We Hindus are a nation by ourselves and it is a historical fact that Hindus and Muslims are two nations.""

4. (C) --The controversy surrounding Advani's resignation has reinforced the crisis within the BJP, which has steadily suffered at the polls since its fell from power in May 2004.

--Although the BJP leadership patched together a face-saving ""solution"" to the ""crisis,"" the deep divisions within the BJP and between the BJP and the NDA remain.

--The poll in Bihar will is expected after the monsoons in November, 2005 will be a crucial contest for the BJP. These developments make an NDA victory in Bihar increasingly unlikely.

--The crisis underlined that there is no second generation BJP leader who can currently bridge the two BJP camps like Advani.

--The behavior of the second tier of the BJP leadership, such as Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi, which failed to come to his aid when he came under attack from the Sangh Parivar (family of Hindu organizations) reportedly shocked Advani, as he had selected them personally.

--Advani had most likely determined that Hindutva had outlived his usefulness and hoped to steer the BJP towards a more moderate course, in hopes of reversing the party's electoral decline.

--His acceptance of the BJP statement with its negative portrayal of Jinnah and his role in history is a public withdrawal from his earlier stance.

--The Hindu nationalist RSS and its Sangh Parivar allies have scored a major political victory by intimidating Advani and the second tier BJP leadership.

--This is a major coup for Congress and the UPA, which can now draw a clear political line between its ""secular"" and progressive outlook and the ""communalism"" of the BJP.

--These developments could lead to a further decline in the NDA, whose numbers have fallen from 22 parties in 1998 to only 10 today. More parties could depart in the months ahead, spurring efforts to create a ""third front"" to oppose the UPA and occupy the political vacuum resulting from the decline of the BJP.

BLAKE