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BJP needs to be more clear on "Hindutva" definition, says Jaswant Singh.

Byline: ANI

New Delhi, June 11 (ANI): Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Jaswant Singh, on Thursday said his party lacked clarity on what Hindutva meant and stood for.

Jaswant Singh, in an interview to NDTV, spoke on a variety of issues that either have become or fast becoming major concerns for the party.

On a question whether it's true that there's an ideological confusion within the BJP, Jaswant said the party actual needs to be a party of present time and develop more clarity on the "Hindutva".

"I don't know if it's confusion. But there is a need for ideological distillation of thought. The BJP has to be a current party. It can't be a party of yesterday. I think there's lack of clarity on what Hindutva means and what it stands for. During the late Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhya's time the word Hindutva didn't feature anywhere; its emergence in the lexicon of current Indian politics is of a later vintage. We have to reflect on what we are trying to address ourselves to. It comes back to the issue that the party must be current, that it addresses [the] today as well as the tomorrow and doesn't continue to be living in [the] yesterday."

"The BJP is not a representative of Hindutva. It only advocates an identity based on Hindu thought and Hindu social ethos," Singh clarified.

Over BJP's performance and derived message from Lok Sabha elections, Jaswant said: "We have to recognise that this is the second election we have lost. In 2004, we lost when everybody said we were winning. That came as a shock. This time, we expected good results that didn't come. It's a bigger shock...but we are still the second largest party in parliament. We have still got 116 MPs and then there are huge gaps in the patterns of the seat representations. Some of the states where we expected to do better, we didn't live up to them."

When asked if he agrees that people perceived the BJP was living in yesterday? Jaswant said: "Perhaps people didn't perceive it but we didn't succeed effectively in conveying what we're trying to do. The failure in conveying a message on what we stand for and ended up with, diminished electoral support."

On bringing up Narendra Modi's name midway through the campaign causing too much confusion, Jaswant said: "No, I don't agree. There was no confusion and even now there isn't any. Advani was projected as leader by the party knowingly, deliberately, determinedly as PM candidate."

When asked several BJP leaders endorsed Modi's name as future PM, Jaswant said: "That wasn't really necessary talking about the future as we haven't addressed the present."o a question about his view of extreme elements within the Sangh Parivar (like Vishwa Hindu Parishad) at times interfering with attempts to be a modern party, Jaswant said: "It is possible that extreme elements have dented this particular aspect. The BJP will have to address this aspect and will have to address this."

On growing factionalism in BJP, Jaswant said: "Factionalism is a problem of Indian democracy; you can't only charge the BJP. I know for a fact since I've been with the BJP since its origin. First political party I joined was the Janata Party. When it comes to evolution of BJP, factionalism has afflicted us. When we have had no expectations of office, then there was no factionalism. Factionalism is an ailment that afflicts all political parties, whether Communist, Congress or BJP...the minute the taste of office is on your tongue. You can't blame the political party; the lure of office is a divider."

Asked in the wake of rumours that Advani would step down as the Leader of Opposition in Parliament by the year-end, does the party need major overhaul, Jaswant said: "Does the Party needs to look at itself? Yes! Does the party need to replace Advani? No!

The party must evolve into a succession, not arrive at succession because of an event. The event is a loss of an election...therefore you must change the leader? I don't believe o." (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Jun 11, 2009
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