Advani infringes propriety by meeting Shah
Senior BJP leader LK Advani has always been known as a stickler for propriety. However, when he went to meet Amit Shah, former Gujarat Home Minister and an accused in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in the Sabramati Jail last week, I for one was extremely surprised.
I am aware that Amit Shah is an MLA from Advani’s Gandhi Nagar Parliamentary constituency but I did not ever think that the veteran leader who has preached about sanctity of values would go and meet his party colleague in jail. If Shah had been arrested on some charge related to some sort of political activity, one could understand and endorse such a meeting.
But if he is inside because the Supreme Court supervised investigations have found him to be an accused in a murder case, Advani should not have been doing what he did. If Shah is innocent, he will be acquitted but if guilty he should be punished.
It is true that Amit Shah is privy to a lot of information, which can be inconvenient for many of his party men if he decides to speak. But why should he unless he starts feeling that he is being let down by his fellow travelers and has been left to fend for himself.
In any case, the rumours that Advani went to Sabramati because Shah threatened to tattle on him are to be taken with a pinch of salt since the BJP leader is beyond the stage where he can be blackmailed by anyone, especially a murder case accused. Such rumours had also surfaced when the Telgi case surfaced and Advani was the Home Minister.
Though Advani never went to meet him jail, his opponents made a gloomy forecast about certain disclosures that Telgi was likely to make which would jeopardize the careers of many politicians. Such threats are hazards faced by active politicians and it is not easy to level serious charges against seasoned politicians like Advani.
But his visit to Sabramati has amazed many of his admirers within in his own party who are red faced and do not know how to defend him. Advani’s explanation that he had gone to comfort the family of the accused and also to meet him is not satisfactory. It raises doubts why a person like him who asked his party colleagues to always observe propriety suddenly decide to breach it.
Was it because he felt emboldened especially after the BJP trounced the Congress in the bye-election in the latter’s stronghold. Or was it to ensure that Shah’s supporters continue to support him if decides to seek a re-election from Gandhi Nagar again in 2014. Advani should know that his victory in Gujarat is dependent more on Narendra Modi and less on Shah and in any case, Modi is fast emerging as the strongest leader within the Sangh Parivar.
Advani certainly needs to explain why he went to the Sabramati Jail, his feeble defense of his act notwithstanding. His action is contrary to what was preached in his party when it was a party with a difference.