NEW DELHI

Advani's address stumps BJP cadres

LUCKNOW Oct. 3. The new kind of relationship articulated by the Bharatiya Janata Party national leadership that seems to have accepted the hegemony of the Bahujan Samaj Party in the political life of Uttar Pradesh has left the saffron forces confused. The party cadres here have failed to precisely interpret the message in the address of the Deputy Prime Minister, L K Advani, at the BSP rally here this past week-end when he overtly accepted the superiority of the BSP ideology. Mr Advani not only extended his support to a political ally in condemning certain uncharitable remarks made by the Samajwadi Party leader, Mulayam Singh Yadav, against Bhimrao Ambedker but in a way also accepted the weaknesses of his own party ideology and recognised its failures.

During his address Mr Advani proclaimed that the BSP rally was the largest ever held in Lucknow and attributed this success to the Dalit movement that had inspired the milling crowds to flock in.

"The huge crowds do not prove only the power of the political party that has organised the rally but also the strength of the movement that has inspired the participants,'' he said.

Was it not an acknowledgment on the part of Mr Advani that the forces of Hindutva had failed to gain the confidence of the scheduled castes which were reluctant to shout "Garva se kaho ham Hindu hain'' (Say with pride that I am a Hindu), a slogan so fondly coined by the BJP and allied organisations during the Ayodhya movement? Also, did not his unqualified praise showered on the BSP amount to acceptance of the fact that the BSP ideology had a greater force to attract the Dalit masses despite the BJP making all-out efforts to build a new social order on the foundations of its concept of cultural nationalism. Did the BJP concept of cultural nationalism not have adequate space to accommodate the elements of Dalit consciousness as part of an all-encompassing Hinduism?

Natural questions like these arising out of the articulations of Mr Advani have remained unanswered. And if legitimacy of the BSP as an exclusive source of inspiration for the Dalits is accepted, the ideal of cultural nationalism could be achieved only through a permanent confederation of the BJP and the BSP. That only seals the fate of the BJP, doomed to political subordination to the BSP.

Mr Advani's advice to his party workers and leaders to stand on a higher pedestal of political morality as people belonging to "the party with a difference'' has also not gone well with the cadres. There cannot be two different yardsticks to define the behavioural pattern of party leaders - one for those enjoying the powers and privileges as part of the Government and the other for those kept aloof from the centres of power -- goes the argument.

BJP Ministers and others who have manipulated their connections to acquire positions in the State or Central governments do not look different from people enjoying similar position in other parties. The evils of corruption, nepotism and misuse of authority are as rampant among BJP functioneries as among any other party.

"The advice to the party's common workers to exercise restraint thus amounts to nothing worthwhile'' has been the general reaction of BJP workers here to Mr Advani's advice.

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