Advani should drive his chariot to parliament
L K Advani is at it again. He’s riding his chariot across the nation in a campaign to bolster its security. Traversing the country with bells, whistles and slogans would have made ample sense if he was in charge of a non-governmental organisation promoting literacy, public health, environment or any number of pressing socio-economic issues. But he’s not. Instead he is the Leader of Opposition in parliament. In other words, he is already in a place, where, if he only so wishes, he can actually help shape policies that enhance national security.
But Advani’s BJP has been content to boycott parliament, and where it does not, indiscriminately oppose the government on every issue. Thanks to its frittering away the rights and privileges arising from being the official opposition, it has fallen upon the Communists to influence the course of government policy in their own self-serving ways.
Advani’s chariot is being drawn by the wrong horses. Indiscriminate appeasement of minorities may fairly be an issue that the BJP wants to make its own. But hitching it as he has to national security overemphasises the connection, the causal relationship of which has not at all been established. But the linking the construction of of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya to India’s national security is altogether absurd.
Rationally speaking, appeasing the minorities (as Mr Advani alleged, with some substance, the Congress is doing) is a more paying political strategy than appealing to the majority. Invoking the former wonâ€™t make the latter easier to achieve. But Mr Advaniâ€™s romanticism goes far beyond appearing to journey out for an elusive political commodity. He should have by now reinvented himself as the leader who wants the BJP to be a conservative, pro-market, unapologetically nationalist as well as secular party of the right. [Saubhik Chakrabarti/IE]
Advani’s political gambit may or may not succeed. But he has already compounded his party’s abject failure to keep the Manmohan Singh government on its toes as far as national security is concerned. Projecting minority appeasement and temple construction as crucial national security issues is analogous to a quack treating a critical patient with doses of spurious medicine. The odds are that the Indian people will not be fooled.