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.
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.
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.