Lal Krishna Advani feels like resigning again. This time around he is upset over the continued ruckus in both the Houses of Parliament. This is for the second time in the past one week that he has publicly expressed his anguish over the manner in which the parliamentary proceedings of the Winter Session is being disrupted and has not spared his own party, the ruling BJP, and its floor managers from his ire.
He also let it known publicly that he is upset over all round indiscipline that he no longer wants to continue as an MP, representing Gandhinagar (Gujarat) in Lok Sabha.
But the irony is when Advani, the co-founder of the BJP, party president for 12 years and former Deputy Prime Minister made one of the biggest statements — quitting from 16th Lok Sabha Parliament mid-way and that way from active politics, which essentially is an indictment and statement of frustration against current dispensation of the party, which he once built — didn't even make big breaking news. What was supposed to feel like a bang, could only make a whimper.
Advani has been giving vent to his feelings to some party leaders and some others who met him in the recent past. Till then it was considered to be the anguish of the senior most leader in Parliament and in BJP and those he spoke to kept it to themselves. But things were different on Thursday, a day before the Winter Session of Parliament is to close. When Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the Lok Sabha for the day, Advani didn't move and kept sitting in his front row seat. Some MPs, including Idris Ali of TMC, came to talk to him and it was then that the veteran BJP leader bared his feelings. What he said was heard by some journalists who were sitting in media gallery. Ali later told other mediapersons on what Advani had just told them: "Koi jeete yaa haarey, iss sab hungame se sansad ki haar ho rhi hai, speaker se baat karke kal charcha honi chahiye... Vajpayee would have been very disappointed if he was in the house. I feel like resigning." Advani had earlier asked Home Minister Rajnath Singh to intervene to see if the House functioned.
On 7 December Advani had taken on Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar for his inability to manage the functioning of the House.
The veteran BJP leader has been known for his measured words and how every word spoken by him would be dissected by the media and people at large. The question is why Advani's supposed bombshell statement didn't shake the BJP and couldn't be the lead news for the day in media? That's perhaps because his agitation is perceived to be emanating from reasons other than the disruption of Parliament. It comes from a mix of his personal isolation in the organisational structure in the party, where his word used to be law.
More so, in the past few years, on more than one occasion, since the time Narendra Modi in June 2013 was anointed in Goa to lead 2014 parliamentary polls, Advani has used far stronger words against his own party.
Advani was hugely discussed and debated when he didn't go to the Goa convention to see Modi's elevation. He subsequently shocked then party president Rajnath Singh by announcing his resignation from all posts he held in the National Executive, Parliamentary Board and Election Committee.
In his letter to Rajnath Singh, Advani had then said, "All my life I have found working for the Jana Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party a matter of great pride and endless satisfaction to myself. For some time I have been finding it difficult to reconcile either with the current functioning of the party, or the direction in which it is going. I no longer have the feeling that this is the same idealistic party created by Dr Mookerji, Deen Dayalji, Nanaji and Vajpayeeji, whose sole concern was the country, and its people. Most leaders of ours are now concerned just with their personal agendas. I have decided, therefore, to resign from the three main fora of the party, namely, the National Executive, the Parliamentary Board, and the Election Committee. This may be regarded as my resignation letter."
In the run up to the parliamentary polls, when Advani expressed his desire to shift to Bhopal parliamentary constituency from his existing Gandhinanagr constituency, the party leadership had great difficulty in making him review his position and stay put in Gujarat. His move had obvious implications on Modi. But in the end, Advani reconciled and contested from Gandhinagar. Modi assigned Anandiben Patel the task of ensuring that the senior BJP leader's poll campaign went smoothly.
But shortly, Modi won a historic mandate for the BJP, Advani was removed from party's highest decision making body and the Parliamentary Board and made to be on total pause mode inside all party forums.
Advani struck again after BJP badly lost Bihar elections. He issued a written statement with Murli Manohar Joshi, Yashwant Sinha and Shanta Kumar taking on the Modi-Shah dispensation in the BJP. He said: "The results of Bihar elections show that no lesson has been learnt from the fiasco in Delhi. To say that everyone is responsible for the defeat in Bihar is to ensure that no one is held responsible. It shows that those who would have appropriated credit if the party had won are bent on shrugging off responsibility for disastrous showing in Bihar. The principal reason for latest defeat is the way the party has been emasculated in the last year. A thorough review must be done of the reasons for the defeat as well as of the way party is being forced to kow-tow to a handful and how its consensual character has been destroyed."
In summer of 2005 in the wake of "Jinnah is a secularist" controversy, Advani had resigned from the BJP president's post but was made to withdraw his resignation. His resignation from Parliament in 1996 in the wake of the Hawala chargesheet by Narshimha Rao government had put him in a moral high. Advani had set a new ethical benchmark in Indian politics by vowing not to return to Parliament till his name was cleared.
So far, each time that Advani resigned, he bounced back, lately with diminished strength and clout. His new resignation threat may not augur well for him for things have changed since the time he last held BJP president's post in 2006.
Updated Date: Dec 15, 2016 17:27:31 IST