Concerned Citizens Tribunal - Gujarat 2002
An inquiry into the carnage in Gujarat

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Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani on Gujarat


From Jal Khambata

New Delhi, 24 July 2002: Going a step further from previous night’s snub to the Opposition in the Lok Sabha that Chief Minister Narendra Modi needs not their "certificate" but that of the people of Gujarat, Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani on Wednesday told the Rajya Sabha that Modi has turned out to be "the best Chief Minister in the last half century."

His certificate of the "best Chief Minister" was based on his contention that Modi had "sternly" dealt with the communal violence with a firm hand, proving himself to do the best possible under the given conditions.

Advani was replying to a short-duration debate on the Gujarat situation that had begun Tuesday noon and continued for most part of the day even as the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day in memory of Congress member Atmaram Patel from Gujarat who died on Tuesday.

The Opposition staged a walk-out protesting that they did not want Advani’s certificate for Modi but they had expected his response to the debate issue as to what steps had been taken by the Government in pursuance of the motion adopted by the Rajya Sabha on May 6 to intervene in Gujarat under Article 355 of the Constitution of India.

Braving repeated interruptions and noisy scenes, Advani asserted that the conditions in Gujarat were quite conducive for holding elections and there was no reason for the Centre to intervene any further under Article 355 or Article 356.

He also sought to allay the Opposition’s fears that the minority frightened by the communal violence may not be able to exercise their franchise if the polls were held soon before the situation normalises. He said the Centre stands committed to ensure free and fair elections in the state. The Opposition was, however, unimpressed as members interrupted to accuse the Government trying to capitalise on the communal violence in Gujarat.

Meanwhile, the Congress criticised Advani for "continuing to glorify his protege hardcore Modi and his discredited regime." His "certificate" of the best CM bestowed on Modi was "shocking" as it was based on an absurd claim, party spokesman Anand Sharma affirmed at the daily Press briefing.

As the country’s Home Minister, Advani was supposed to have a balanced view but he seems to have lost his balance "by treating his disciple (Modi) even above the Constitution," Anand said, adding that it was true that there had been no Chief Minister in the past 50 years who had presided over a regime with perceived complicity in the communal carnage.

Anand Sharma said the same Advani had said just two weeks ago in Ahmedabad that the situation was not normal and the fear and insecurity among the people persists on account of the communal violence that rocked Gujarat. His new stand that the situation was conducive for the polls, Sharma added.

Advani praises Modi’s Gujarat Gaurav Yatra

15 & 16 September, 2002: Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kischenchand Advani on Sunday gave Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi a ‘pat on the back’, while praising his much-criticised Gujarat Gaurav Yatra saying it was the ‘need of the hour’, and the popular response to it was unnerving the opposition.

"When the opposition parties denigrate Gujarat as ‘Godse’s Gujarat’, the need for restoring Gujarat’s gaurav [honour] is all the more important," he said addressing office bearers in a meeting of the party in New Delhi.

Describing the yatra as a ‘highly successful programme’, Advani said the party must now work to ensure that its Gaon Chalo Abhiyan [Go to the village campaign] and the proposed December rally in the capital also turns out equally successful.

Referring to the criticism of Modi within the party, he cautioned the members to be careful and maintain unity. "As a ruling party, we are under the microscope. Therefore, our political behaviour must strive for idealism," he said.

The criticism surfaced when Gujarat revenue minister Haren Pandya had resigned from the state Cabinet following differences with Modi, which was later sorted out with central intervention, even as Modi’s predecessor and poll campaign in-charge Keshubhai Patel had recently stated that elected legislatures would chose their leader as against the projection of Modi as a chief ministerial candidate.

Advani has been taking active interest in party affairs of late, following the BJP’s debacle in Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and other places and made changes in the party, including the change of leadership and rejuvenation of the organisation at the state level.

The deputy prime minister said that in the last three months, a new sense of confidence has grown in the party. "The party’s activities, its zonal conferences, the political programmes, have made the opposition jittery. The hostility of the opposition is the result of the successful programme of the BJP," he said.


Gujarat a blot, admits Advani (excerpts)

London, Aug. 22: ...Mr Advani, who is on his trip abroad after being elevated to the post the deputy prime minister, also said, "If all the countries in Europe can put aside their differences and come together, then why can’t Indian Pakistan and Bangladesh do the same."

The deputy prime minister described the Gujarat violence as an indefensible issue. "Gujarat is a blot on the government. It is something indefensible. I just cannot defend it. We (Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Mr Advani) were outraged and shocked by the violence."

... The deputy prime minister unveiled a bust of India’s Iron Man, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, at the Indian high commission on Wednesday. Speaking in chaste Hindi, he described how Sardar Patel integrated the 500-odd princely states into India after Partition.

In the background, meanwhile, a group that had gathered outside the Indian high commission building in central London held placards and shouted slogans against the deputy prime minister, blaming him and the BJP for the recent riots in Gujarat. The protesters were from organisations such as South Asia Solidarity, India Muslim Council UK and South Asia Watch.

Inside, Mr Advani dismissed reports that Sardar Patel was anti-Muslim, and quoted scholar Rafiq Zakaria and Jai Prakash Narayan to illustrate. The bust was donated by the Sardar Patel Memorial Society in London.

Later, addressing a select group of guests at the high commissioner’s residence here, Mr Advani praised NRIs for their contributions in their adopted countries. He used his skill as a good storyteller to show how Indians abroad excelled in their professions. Mr Advani also reflected on how cynicism hampered progress in India and urged people to be positive in their attitude.


BJP can no longer claim providing riot-free Govt: Advani

Press Trust of India

Bhopal, September 04: Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani on Wednesday said because of the violence in Gujarat after the Godhra incident, the BJP can now no longer claim that it always provided riot-free Governments.

Advani said before the Gujarat incidents, he had claimed both in Parliament and outside that no violence ever took place in states, ruled by BJP.

"But all this has now changed because of Gujarat," Advani said in his address on the opening day of the two-day meeting of BJP MLAs and office-bearers from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Goa.

He said the Vajpayee Government at the Centre had done excellent work since 1998 and urged party workers to tell people all over the country about its achievements in various fields.



Published by: Citizens for Justice and Peace