Compared to the present bunch of BJP leaders, who are audacious and rude to the extreme and promptly dub whoever questions the government’s statements and policies ‘anti-nationals’, LK Advani was indeed a much sober, humble and democratic figure. One cannot recall any statement from him seeking to throttle criticism from the opposition or the media.
But we must also not forget that it was Advani and his marauding Rath Yatra which not only ignited a fire of riots along its journey’s path but also caused the vandalizing of the Babri Masjid and enabled rabid communal polarization.
Far from coming up with any solution for the country’s millions of poor who are deprived of basic necessities, wasn’t it a crime of sorts to immerse in petty politics of religion and throw the country into chaos and disorder?
Then came the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, which occurred right under the nose of the administration. While the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi rightly deserves the severest criticism for the drastic failure to prevent the mayhem, as the then deputy PM as well as union home minister, Advani also cannot escape from his responsibilities.
As far as murdering dissent is concerned, Advani fares much better than the present bunch of BJP leaders. But it is also a fact that the political prosperity and growth of today’s BJP, full of intolerance and hatred towards the ‘other’, was carefully nurtured and nourished by the divisive religious issues invoked by Advani in the late ’80s the early ’90s. True secular humanitarian Indians will not forgive Advani in a hurry.