Making his first public appearance since the controversy over his disenchantment with the BJP functioning broke out over two weeks ago, senior BJP leader L K Advani enunciated the ideals that the founding fathers of the party had in mind.
Advani was the key speaker at an event organised here to mark Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s death anniversary. The party veteran drew from the life of Mukherjee, founder of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, to give out a subtle message to his partymen - taking along non-Congress parties to take on the Congress, taking critics along and holding on to the party’s ideals even if it meant taking harsh decisions.
Advani did not refer to the current wrangling within the party, but the message was hard to miss. “During the first convention of Jan Sangh in Kanpur in 1951, Mukherjee brought with him members of Orissa regional party. He wanted them to see how the party’s convention panned out. Mukherjee was farsighted to believe that it was necessary to take along non-Congress parties to take on the Congress. Even at that time, he gave us a message on how the politics be practised,” Advani said.
At the function, BJP president Rajnath Singh and senior leader Venkaiah Naidu called Advani “the tallest leader” and “main ideologue” in the party. Both said Advani was among the senior leaders who have seen Mukherjee from close quarters and thus should lay out the vision for the party.
Advani said both Mukherjee and B R Ambedkar were stringent critics of the Congress and Jawaharlal Nehru, yet both of them were in the first Cabinet after Independence. Not only was Ambedkar made a law minister, but also was the architect of the Constitution, he said.
During his speech, the senior leader reminisced the time spent with Mukherjee and his untimely mysterious death. “It was shameful that no inquiry was ever conducted as to how Mukherjee died,” Advani added.