`For BJP, Hindu nationalism is opportunistic`
Chennai: Another Wiki bomb has hit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the latest WikiLeaks expose carried by a leading English daily, it has been revealed that way back in May 2005 senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley had told US diplomats in private that Hindu nationalism was an opportunistic issue for the party.
Jaitley, who is now the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, made the remarks in a private conversation with Robert Blake, the Charge at the US Embassy, and the Political Counsel on May 06, 2005.
“Pressed on the question of Hindutva, Jaitley argued that Hindu nationalism ‘will always be a talking point’ for the BJP. However, he characterised this as an opportunistic issue,” Blake wrote in a confidential cable dated May 10, 2005.
“In India`s Northeast, for instance, Hindutva plays well because of public anxiety about illegal migration of Muslims from Bangladesh. With the recent improvement of Indo-Pak relations, he added, Hindu nationalism is now less resonant in New Delhi, but that could change with another cross-border terrorist attack, for instance on the Indian Parliament,” the Charge reported further on his conversation with Jaitley.
Making his conclusions from the interaction, Blake reported that his “credentials with the Sangh Parivar are weak, and he may not have what it takes to mobilise the BJP base”.
During the talk, Jaitley who appeared “relaxed and self-assured” said LK Advani would most likely lead the BJP two to three more years, “after which one of five next generation leaders (him being one of them) would take the reins”.
Jaitley also commented on the issue of revocation of the visa of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, saying it was difficult for him to understand the US move as it was the BJP that started the transformation of US-India ties.
He however was upbeat about US-India relations, “emphasising that ties with the US were no longer a point of controversy in Indian politics”.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad lashed out at BJP for “mixing religion with politics”. “BJP is known for mixing religion with politics in the name of nationalism. The WikiLeaks has reiterated the very fact”.
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