Ayodhya: Advani’s harvest
This past week, we had a chance to hear two political leaders, both of who could potentially be heads of government, speak on the Babri issue. To me, one sounded quite dumb, the other smart. Going by the noises they made, one appeared to be looking backwards, the other forward-looking.
Returning to Somnath, the place he set off from on his Ram temple juggernaut, BJP leader L.K. Advani summed his priorities: a befitting temple at the site where the disputed Babri Masjid stood.
On the other hand, Congress scion Rahul Gandhi, talking to a gathering of IIT students in Guwahati, said education and jobs were far more important issues than a temple or a mosque.
It’s not so much the positive note struck by Gandhi that was the highpoint for me. What saddens me is the stubbornness with which BJP leader Advani remains caught up in the past. He increasingly looks to me a man who isn’t being honest to himself.
It is with despondency that one views leaders, such as Advani, fritter away their political expertise this way, as India undergoes a generational change in both its politics and society.
Younger politicians, such as Gandhi, are making much smarter, albeit predictable, points. The symbolism of Advani’s ill-timed Somnath trip, with former lieutenant Uma Bharti in tow, is lost on no one.
In his slow ride into the sunset, those whom BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani has endeared on the way will find the last chapters of a tragedy written years ago: Advani’s rise at the expense of all he stood for. This is what I had written in an earlier post.
He was a ‘good man fallen’ among saffronites, I had said. We have actually progressed since then. Advani is now a good man fallen among the politically retarded. The likes of Uma Bharti.