Advani’s regret to cost BJP dear, help those with foreign bank accounts
by Rustam on 22 Feb 2011 17 Comments

BJP leader and former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani on Friday took an extraordinary step and apologized to Congress president and UPA chairperson for the party-appointed task force which had alleged that she and her late husband (former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi) had accounts in Swiss banks. The BJP had appointed this task force to unravel the amount of black money stashed by Indians in foreign banks and suggest ways to bring it back to India. Advani tendered an unconditional apology in writing.


The letter he wrote to the Congress president regretted inclusion of her name and the name of her late husband in the report prepared by the task force after putting in some effort. The members of the task force were S. Gurumurthy, former IB director Ajit Doval, Prof R Vaidyanathan and advocate Mahesh Jethmalani. They had put the figure of money stashed in foreign banks at Rs 25 lakh crore. On February 1, the NDA leaders released a booklet “Indian Black Money Abroad in Secret Banks and Tax Havens” - the second report of the task force appointed by the BJP – at the residence of L.K. Advani!


Advani tendered his apology after the Congress president denied the allegations. The question is - who was Advani to tender the apology? He is not the president of the party. Nor is he the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. The very fact that BJP president Nitin Gadkari was not in a position to take questions from reporters on this issue established that Advani wrote the letter on his own, thus sending a signal that the BJP is not interested in bringing the stashed away money back to India.


That Advani and not the party president, or Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, or Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, wrote or said anything on the issue has created an impression that Advani perhaps has “entered into a deal” with those who have stashed black money in foreign banks, in order to hamper the campaign launched by the media against those involved in draining India’s wealth. One may or may not buy this argument, but the action has created a serious doubt in the minds of concerned Indians and rattled them.


An impression has also gained ground that Gadkari, who was appointed at the behest of the RSS as president of the BJP to stem the rot, end factionalism, and put the party which was in complete disarray back on the rails, has joined Advani’s bandwagon only to tell the RSS leadership that it should hold aloof and not poke its nose in party affairs.


To say this is not to suggest that no person should acknowledge his mistake and tender apology. If one acknowledges one’s mistake and rectifies it, it is something that deserves appreciation. Here that is not the question. The question is why Advani did it.    


The fact of the matter is that Advani’s action has outraged many in the party, the party’s supporters and sympathizers, and the RSS top leadership. A well-known supporter of the BJP has condemned Advani in a private note, saying: “Now - to the Eternal Shame of the BJP - its prime-minister-in-waiting-for-all-eternity (read Kayamat Tak) has discredited the entire party position on Black Money with this unilateral action of a private apology. When (Congress president) sent the letter, it should have been made public, then discussed publicly and in party forums, and then dealt with. Who authorised this @%$ to shoot off an apology? I think Nitin Gadkari as party president owes an apology to the entire nation for this Brutus act.”


Not just this, the outraged BJP supporter has gone to the extent of putting forth a suggestion that reads: “It is high time that the party got its act together, reverted to its original constitution and abolished the illegal post of Chairman, NDA Parliamentary Party or whatever this Sleaze Ball is sitting over, and cut him to size. His personal appointments of cronies should also be revisited if the party expects to have a fighting chance in the inevitable looming polls.”


This is not the view of an ordinary BJP worker or supporter. This is the view of someone who has been shaping and educating the Indian public opinion for years, in order to defeat the negative forces wherever they are.


[Courtesy Early Times]

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