Sunday, July 20, 2008

NUCLEAR DEAL: DO YOU HAVE IT IN YOU MR ADVANI?



Mr Lal Krishna Advani, once you had shown to the nation a glimpse of your ability to rise above the ordinary, to take that leap from the murky world of India’s politicians to the respected realm of its statesmen. For that bold and healing action, you paid a heavy political price, with the maximum opposition coming from within your own party.

Not many in India will have the courage to speak about the secular part of Jinnah’s soul. No doubt Jinnah is to blame for it but it requires rare courage and honesty to acknowledge and salute the secularist in Jinnah and that too in his mausoleum in Pakistan. You showed those fine traits during your visit to Pakistan, not knowing then that most human beings not only lack the ability to rise above the ordinary and banal themselves, they also are unable to comprehend someone else who takes steps to do so.

The Indo-US Nuclear Deal was a heaven-sent opportunity for you to show the world, perhaps even yourself, that your ability to view events and individuals with detached honesty and on sheer merit, as you saw it, was real and consistent, and that the inspirational moment in Karachi was not an aberration. Regrettably Mr Advani, this time you have failed not only yourself but have also let the nation down in an almost unpardonable manner. That is not something that is expected from perhaps the most dominant candidate vying for the PM’s chair.

India is watching with shame and horror as some politicians are blatantly behaving worse than prostitutes. They seem to have totally forgotten that they are meant to responsibly represent the will of the people in Parliament. The impending confidence motion in Parliament has brought out the worst in individuals and parties across the political spectrum. The deal is totally out of the frame. It is only personal enrichment, blackmail and some of the most unashamed turnarounds ever witnessed in India’s history that have occupied centre stage.

For letting this situation arise in the first place and then allowing all and sundry to shamelessly exploit it, you have to take full responsibility. Your culpability, Mr Advani, in this disgraceful failure of legitimate democratic processes and the bipartisanship that is the need of the hour is something that may well haunt you for a long time, if your conscience has not been completely clouded by your burning ambition to displace Dr Manmohan Singh, whatever it takes.

If Karan Thapar is to be believed, and there is no reason to doubt his spotless integrity, you had given your ok to the deal in person to the Prime Minister himself, way back in December 2007(Hindustan Times, July 20,2008). But, later you backed out under pressure from your colleagues. Your caving in to petty political considerations, even though your colleague Jaswant Singh had also earlier found the deal to be worth complimenting the government for, is not something that you can forgive yourself for, Mr Advani, particularly because this decision of yours has exposed the terribly ugly underbelly of India’s politicians.

You must be licking your lips in anticipation of what appears to be the imminent fall of the UPA government because it just might get you to the chair you have been eyeing for a long time. The possibility of getting there a few months earlier has got you and your party, the largest after the Congress, to activate your own department of really dirty tricks to work overtime to ensure that the government falls on July 22, 2008. In your blind obsession to get to power quickly, you are doing no better than those who are looking for the highest bidder to purchase their vote. They are blinded by money, you are blinded by chair.

Just two days to go for the confidence vote. Just two days for you too, Mr Advani, to show that you really have it in you to rise above scum and take a call based on your honest, bipartisan judgement. It is time you opened a new chapter in India’s politics by placing the nation above your party and yourself. So what if it is Dr Manmohan Singh and not you or your party that has got this deal through? A responsible and visionary leader will be the first to applaud his political opponent for a great job done. A petty opposition leader who believes that his political opponents are actually enemies who have to be opposed no matter what the cost to the image of the nation and its politicians, will do what you and your party are doing.

This vote in Parliament is going to be perhaps the defining moment in your life and career, Mr Advani. You do not have age on your side to help you rectify the horrendous blunder that you are making now. In fact, rather than get you to that coveted chair that Dr Manmohan Singh now adorns with rare dignity, this vote may well cause great revulsion against you and generate sufficient negative energy to snatch it away from you, even though it was possibly yours before this decision of yours that has unleashed most unacceptable and shameful developments.

Mr Advani, you have very little time to undo the enormous damage that you have already done to your image and the perception that many people had about your personal honesty and integrity. To do a volte face at this very late stage may look like political hara kiri. If you can muster enough courage and have the strength of character to say and do what you should have long back, you may actually wind up being politically resurrected and being subsequently placed in the Hall of Fame reserved for the really few great leaders that this country has produced. Just remember one thing: nobody, means nobody, in this country is buying yours and your party’s stated position on the nuclear deal; everybody is watching carefully the mockery that all of you are making of the institution of democracy. There will be a heavy price to pay.

This is your last chance to break away from and rise above the rest. This may be your last chance to show that you value your statesmanship far more than your manipulative political skills. Can you do it? Mr Lal Krishna Advani, do you have it in you? Are you going to be deserving of the real ‘Lal Salam’ that had earlier been hijacked by the commies and that has now degenerated to a sorry ‘Dalal Salam’?