On AB Vajpyee’s birthday, Advani admits differences
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Last Updated: Saturday, December 26, 2009, 00:22
  
New Delhi: Senior BJP leader LK Advani has said he had some political differences with his long time colleague and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpyee especially on the Ayodha movement and the removal of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi after the Godhra riots.

"He (Vajpayee) had reservations about the BJP getting directly associated with the Ayodha movement. But he accepted the collective decision of the party - showing that he was a thorough democrat, by conviction and temperament," Advani said in an article on Vajpayee, who turned 86 today.

BJP and, especially Advani, had strongly objected to the recent indictment of Vajpayee by the Liberhan Commission for the Babri Masjid demolition in December 1992.

The other instance mentioned by Advani where the two senior leaders did not see eye to eye was on the issue of removal of Modi after the riots in Gujarat that followed the Godhra train incident.

"Atalji was among those in the party who thought that Modi should be asked to quit. I was convinced, after talking to a large number of people in Gujarat, that Modi was being unfairly targeted. He was in my opinion more sinned against than sinning," Advani said.

However, Advani, who was in jail with Vajpayee during the Emergency and later served as Deputy Prime Minister in the Vajpayee government, praised his senior as a man who "would never go ahead with an idea if he knew that I had a different view on the same."

Vajpayee had reportedly told his party colleagues after the Gujarat riots that as the Chief Minister, Modi had not done enough to control the violence.

This was recently recalled by senior BJP leader Arun Shourie in an interview where he said that Vajpayee had asked him to talk to Advani on Modi's removal. Shourie quoted Advani as saying this would create a upheaval.

In the article written for the Indian Express, Advani said Vajpayee's oratorial skills gave him a complex which he suffered for several years.

"Atalji, in fact, developed within me a complex which stuck on for many years - that I cannot deliver a public speech, although I may be able to draft resolutions and write article - a complex that made me resist the offer to become the party president in 1972," Advani said.

Advani gave credit to his Rath Yatra of 1990 as part of the Ayodhya movement for BJP's "meteoric" growth which led to bi-polar polity in the country. However, he accused the media of labelling him a Hindu hardliner while projecting Vajpayee as a liberal after the yatra.

He said a section of the party felt that this projection of a liberal leader and a hardliner would help BJP.

PTI


First Published: Saturday, December 26, 2009, 00:22


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