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HVK Archives: It's not compromise, but practical idealism

It's not compromise, but practical idealism - The Times of India

Inder Sawhney ()
January 12, 1998

Title: It's not compromise, but practical idealism
Author: Inder Sawhney
Publication: The Times of India
Date: January 12, 1998

Kodipakkam Neelameghacharya Govindacharya, general secretary of
the Bharatiya Janata Party, came to the BJP from the Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on "loan" before the parliamentary
elections in 1989 when the party had just two seats in the Lok
Sabha. reputed to be a high-powered think-tank, Mr Govindacharya
played a key role in forging an alliance with the AIADMK in Tamil
Nadu and the Biju Janata Dal in Orissa.

A Tamilian, Mr Govindacharya- known as Govindji in party circles
- is considered an expert in the politics of the politically
crucial states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Recently, he found
himself in a row when he reportedly described the party's prime
ministerial candidate Atal Behari Vajpayee as "mukhota" (mask).
Mr Govindacharya, who will play a major role in the preparation
of the BJP's manifesto and the campaign strategy, speaks to Inder
Sawhney.

What are the prospects of the BJP coming to power? Would you like
to identify the factors which would help the party get a dear
mandate?

A: The prospects of the BJP coming to power are not simply
bright, but they have crystallised into a certainty. The election
to the 12th Lok Sabha will establish the emergence of the BJP as
India's mainstream national and nationalist party and as the
inheritor of the values of the freedom movement. I can identify
three distinct factors which will contribute to the BJP getting a
clear mandate this time. One, the contemptuous conduct of the
Congress and the United Front, first in subverting and hijacking
the mandate of the May 1996 election and later in making a
complete mess of governance, has convinced the electorate that
those who precipitated this unnecessary midterm election must be
punished.

Secondly, the people's perception that the BJP alone can provide
a stable government is creating a massive wave in our favour.

Third and most important, it is the conviction of the Indian
people that the unfulfilled aspirations of the Freedom Movement
can only be realised if those in power reposition nationalism as
their credo.

Although the party is projecting that, if it comes to power, Atal
Behari Vajpayee would he the Prime Minister, there are whispers
in the BJP that its president LK Advani is also an aspirant.
Would you like to comment, particularly in the context of the
recent controversy about your alleged "mukhota remarks about Mr
Vajpayee?

There are no whispers anywhere in the BJP. The entire party,
including Mr Advani himself, has declared loudly and clearly that
Atalji is the BJP's one and only candidate for the office of
Prime Minister in the event of our coming to power along with our
allies. Mr Vajpayee combines ability with integrity, charisma
with character and experience with universal acceptability.

It is no wonder that the Congress should be trying to exploit a
non-existent Vajpayee vs. Advani controversy. It has been
clarified amply that I never uttered any kind of disrespectful
remarks about Atalji.

Sonia Gandhi's decision to campaign for the Congress has created
euphoria in the party's rank and file. Will it have any impact
on the BJP's prospects?

Far from having any impact on the BJP's prospects, it will
accelerate the Congress's own inevitable doom. Seeking refuge in
Sonia reveals the state of utter demoralisation in the Congress
party.

Even the most ardent admirers of the BJP are surprised at the
compromises it is making to come to power at the Centre. Is not
the party abandoning the values it has adhered to so far?

The BJP has neither made any compromises with its basic values
and principles to come to power, nor will it ever do so once it
comes to power. Our basic commitment is to the principles of
Sanskritik Raashtravaad (cultural nationalism), Swadeshi
(economic nationalism), Shuchita (probity in public life), Samjik
Samarasata (social harmony) and Suraksha (security for the
country and the people).

We have only followed an approach of 'practical idealism', a
combination of basic idealism and creative practical strategy
which takes into account the unfolding reality. It may also be
termed as a tactical act of self-defence.

The BJP has made regional alliances with parties which have
contradictory positions on several vital issues such as Akali Dal
and the Haryana Vikas Party in Punjab and Haryana respectively.
Both these parties are, incidentally, involved in a serious
dispute over river waters sharing.

It is true that the policies and positions of our allies do not
tally with ours on all matters. But isn't this natural in any
multi-party democracy where the situation forces parties to come
together for a common objective?

A general feeling is that the party has not been able to provide
a satisfactory explanation about its alliance with the AIADMK,
whose leader Jayalalitha is facing corruption charges. How can
the BJP justify its criticism of Laloo Yadav who is involved in
the fodder scam?

Three considerations have influenced our decision to have an
alliance with the AIADMK. One, the main issue in the coming
election is stability at the Centre, and the AIADMK's categorical
stand that a BJP-led alliance alone can provide a stable
government has struck a supportive chord among the people.
Secondly, the AIADMK has stated that the BJP is not a communal
party.

Lastly, the foremost consideration has been the positive effect
it will have on national integration by demolishing the myth of
North-South divide.

The charges of corruption against Jayalalitha are being
investigated by the courts. Our alliance with the AIADMK does not
dilute our resolve to immunise our own party and governments
against the cancer of corruption.

After having included persons with criminal records in the Kalyan
Singh government, would the party not find it difficult to send
out signals that it is serious about stamping out criminalisation
>from politics?

Nobody in the BJP, including the chief minister himself, is happy
about the shape and, to some extent, the composition of the
Kalyan Singh ministry in Uttar Pradesh. It was an aberration, an
extraordinary step in an extraordinary situation. What the BJP
has done is apaddharma (unavoidable action in an extraordinary
situation), which was thrust on us by the kind of conspiracy our
adversaries had hatched to keep us out of power. Even so, the BJP
will ensure that nobody with proven criminal record will get a
ticket in the coming election. Kalyan Singh's recent action
against policemen with criminal records is an indication of this.

The party has been accused of doublespeak on the issue of
temples. Contradictory statements are still coming from the
functionaries of the BJP and VHP on Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura
temples.

There has been absolutely no doublespeak by the BJP on this
issue. We have always maintained that Kashi and Mathura are not
on our agenda. As far as Ayodhya is concerned, there never was,
nor will there be, any change in our commitment to the
construction of a befitting temple at Ram Janmabhoomi. I am
confident that representatives of the Muslim community will see
the entire situation in a new light in the spirit of promoting
mutual goodwill and harmony.


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