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UF govt doesn't have a mandate: Advani - The Times of India

Janak Singh ()
1 July 1996


Title : UF govt. doesn't have a mandae, says Advani
Author : Janak Singh
Publication : The Times of India
Date : July 1, 1996

NEW DELHI, June 30. The policies and programmes of the
United Front (UF) government are being tailored to meet
the needs of its supporters, " Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) president L.K Advani charged here last Friday.
"Corruption is not being accorded top priority because it
does not suit the Congress party, " be added. The BJP
leader asserted that the government would not "last
long." Infact be said, "the budget to be presented in
Parliament injury may be the first and last budget of
this government. We expect the parliamentary elections
early next year, "be quipped.

Mr Advani said his party had registered a phenomenal
growth rate during the past decade. From two seats in
Parliament in 1986to 160seats in the last election u)as
by no means a mean achievement. "The only problem is that
our growth rate has not kept pace with the precipitous
decline of the Congress We have not been able to fill the
political vacuum in areas now devoid of a Congress
presence. Hence, the political instability be in
witnessed in the country. But the situation will be
rectifies in the next election, "be said.

Following are excerpts from an interview with the BJP

Is the UF government coming to grips with the country's
problems or merely doing what suits

The more important thing to consider is: Can the
government act independently? After promising support for
five years in Parliament, Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao declared
a week later in Berhampur that the government should not
take the Congress for granted. Although corruption is
the country's besetting sin, Mr Deve Gowda declared in
Parliament that he would he more concerned With rooting
out poverty than removing this evil. The government is
diverting attention from the main problems afflicting the

The touchstone of the government's commitment to
eradicate corruption will be how it deals with the Suraj
Mandal graft case and the urea scam. In the first case,
Mr Narasimha Rao himself is the main culprit and in the
other, his son is allegedly involved. We are watching the
progress. It would be premature to say, anything at this
stage. But I think on the whole, corruption cases have
started coming to light because of pressure from the

The very composition of the government puts a question
mark on its future. It has not emerged from the
electoral verdict of the elections. Both the largest
party, the BJP, and the second largest party, the
Congress, are out of it. The constituents
supporting it are those who have fought against each
other. It's a government sans a mandate.

Why is your party so upset about the up linking

facilities reportedly promised by the government to
Rupert Murdoch, when it is just an extension of the
liberalisation policy?

Of course, we are all for liberalisation. But we cannot
support the move to allow Rupert Murdoch this facility
when it was not given even to Indian operators. The U.S.
is all for multinationals and liberalisation. But can
non-Americans start ventures in the United States? The
government there is very strict on these matters because
they impinge on the rights of their own nationals.

Why should our government do so? Rupert Murdoch makes
courtesy call on the Prime Minister and gets the
concession he has been denied in several other countries.
The important thing is: when we did not give this
facility to our own entrepreneurs, why should a foreigner
be favoured?

Does the BJP endorse the government's stand on CTBT (the
comprehensive test-ban treaty)?

BJP leader Atal Behari Vaipayee was the first to raise
his voice again the CTBT. We not only oppose this treaty
but go a step further. We want India to have nuclear
parity with its neighbours. When China and Pakistan have
developed nuclear weapons, there is no reason why India
should not have a nuclear deterrent.

How can the BJP claim to be a national party when its
policies and programmes reflect no concern whatever for
the minorities? The construction of Ram temple is
anathema to the Muslims. The ban on cow
slaughter would rob tribal of their main source of
food, which is beef.

U.P. has a large concentration of Muslims. Yet we won 53
out of 86 parliamentary seats in the state. This is not
to say that we have no consideration for Muslim
sentiments. The temple is a question of our national
commitment from which we cannot de-
party Before 1947, the bulk of the Muslim community was
loyal to M. A. Jinnah. That did not stop Congress from
claiming to be a secular party. Similarly, if a section
of Muslims still have reservations about our policies, it
cannot debar us from claiming that we are a national

The question of a uniform civil code and a ban on cow
slaughter are issues mentioned in the constitution. The
BJP has not created these problems. Every government is
enjoined upon to take measures for implementation of
these proposals. As for the question of beef being a
staple food for tribals, all I would ask you is to
consider the situation in countries where ham is banned.
Are Christians not living in these nations? It is
nonsense to make an issue of a thing, which is otherwise
of little consequence.

Nobody can deny the BJP the status of a national party,
say after the last elections. It is true that the BJP not
as strong in the south as in the north. But we won seven
seats from the region. In the Tamil Nadu assembly
election, BJP was able to win a seat without an alliance
with any other party. This was significant when the
Congress had drawn a complete blank in the state.

The BJP, it seems, does not know how to rule. The party
was discredited in Himachal Pradesh in both the assembly
and parliamentary elections even after being in power in
the state. In Gujarat, the party is becoming synonymous
with infighting.

The charge is unjustified. The situation in Himachal
Pradesh was quite different from Guiarat. In Himachal
Pradesh, the BJP lost power because it was unable to
blend good governance with prudent politics. In Gujarat,
despite the infighting, the party could win 16 out of 22
parliamentary seats in the last elections.

This did not reflect the disenchantment of the people: it
showed only admiration for the party and the government.
Of course, there had been infighting. And we have already
taken measures to set things right. The people are quite
happy with the way the state is being governed.

The policies and programmes of the BJP and the Congress,
judging from their manifestos, are similar. What is the
great new thing that the BJP will do to transform this
povertridden nation into a thriving modern state when it
comes to power?

In all developing and developed countries, there is a
great deal of similarity in the policies and programmes
of various parties. The Labour party in England is
advocating now what used to be the agenda of the
Conservatives. Similarly, there is little to
differentiate in the manifestos of the main contenders
for power all over the world. The difference is in
implementation of policies and the commitment of people
who win the mandate to live up to the the expectations
aroused by them. The BJP will be very different from the
Congress when it comes to power after the next elections.

A Respnse:

(Letter in response to "UF govt doesn't have a mandate,
says Advani", interview in Times of India, July 1.)

Kanchan Junga
72, Dr G Deshmukh Rd
Mumbai 400 026.

July 1, 1996


In interviewing Shri Advani (July 1), Shri Janak
Mehta contends that the BJP has 'no concern whatever for
the minorities'. The basis of this is the commitment of
the BJP for the temple at Ram Janmabhoomi and banning of
cow slaughter. In case of the former, it needs to be
understood that a temple in honour of Lord Ram was de-
stroyed and the Babri structure built in its place. The
belief of the Hindus that this is the Ram Janmabhoomi has
a history of more than 5000 years, taking the belief out
of the realm of myth. Secondly, banning of cow slaughter
is one of the Directive Principles of the Constitution
and Mahatma Gandhi was very much concerned about this.

Does this mean that the Constitution and Mahatma Gandhi
have no concern whatever for the minorities?

A feature of practice of secularism is that only the
communal issues of the minorities are at the top of the
agenda. Have the BJP governments in various states dis-
criminated against the Muslims in any way? Have the
'secular' governments provided the Muslims with jobs,
education, security, etc.? Shri Mehta has indulged in
arguments by labels which is a common feature of the 'i-
ntellectual' debates in this country. The only difficul-
ty is that this does not solve the problems of this coun-

Yours Sincerely,

(Ashok Chowgule)

The Editor,
The Times of India,
Times of India Building,
D N Road, Mumbai 400 001.

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