Senior BJP leader LK Advani, who has kick-started his 38-Janchetna Yatra from Sitabdiara, Bihar, to take on the Congress-led UPA government against corruption and blackmoney slated away abroad, has categorically said that his Yatra should not be deciphered as a bid to gather momentum for consolidating his Prime Ministerial candidature. Tired with oft-repeated questions, Advani vividly said that he has personally no wish for becoming the Prime Minister, but he could not afford to shake off the decision made by the party. During his Jan Chetna Yatra, Advani spoke at length on various issues with Dainik Jagran.

Excerpts:

You are reaching out to people on issues like blackmoney and corruption through Jan Chetna Yatra. Will people really understand its purpose and vote against the present government?

People understand everything. Even if the average population is illiterate, they do have political insight. When I say that many people were sent to jail and Tihar could witness Cabinet meeting, people get it well. Even though they fail to understand the details of thousand crores of money, they are well aware of the core issue. Literate and educated masses know that which money is tax and which one is black money. The money that is stashed away in foreign accounts is blackmoney. People don’t understand data, but they know it well that this money is earned through illegal means.

What is the difference in Advani’s 1990 Ram Rathyatra and 2011 Jan Chetna yatra?

There is a difference of 21 years of time span that has enhanced political experiences. At that time the matter was different which sparked off debate on secularism in Indian politics. In no stage has secularism been dubbed as wrong. The secularism in real sense is that irrespective of any religion or follower, one should respect all religions. The secularism is the tradition of this country.

This time yatra’s spotlight is on the issues of NDA and secularism, keeping aside BJP’s agenda. Have you left the issues of Hindutva? 

The viewpoint about Hindutva that having faith in religion is wrong is against the country’s tradition. Religion and spirituality is a reality, but it is unfortunate when we talk about religion in India, it reminds only of the riots. Since the establishment of RSS, especially when Dayal Upadhyaya was its president, he had always mentioned that nationalism and Hindutva are the synonyms of India. And we believe in it. Hindutva is over, it's not right.     

Are you saying that Nitish Kumar has flagged off the yatra and Narendra Modi has supported it by writing blogs, giving an impression that differences between them have been cleared. And Nitish would be seen campaigning in Gujarat and Modi in Bihar?


(Intervening the question…) We will see it during the elections.

You said the yatra has nothing to do with the claim for Prime Ministership. Don’t you want to be Prime Minister?

I did say it that I am not in the PM race. Then why is the yatra being linked with the Prime Ministerial post.

I am also not connecting it to the PM post issue. But is it wrong to aspire for becoming the Prime Minister? 


I do not consider it wrong. I said that I have no wishes. Even in 2009, only the party had chosen me for this post. Despite the outrage in the party over my comment in Pakistan, I was asked to become the President of the party, I abided by that. When the government was formed in the Centre, Vajpayeeji asked me to be the Deputy Prime Minister and I followed his words.

If the party wants you to become the Prime Minister in the next Lok Sabha elections will you agree?


Why should I deny it, but there are many things clouded over it. For instance, there is health factor or if any incident or accident happens. Right now, there are no polls, but we are ready for elections.

You had announced Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s name for the post of Prime Minister in 1995. But this time, why are you not announcing any name?

Because, now I am not heading the party. That time I was the president so I declared it. That time too, the party took decision and this time also, only party will decide.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari said, no name would be flashed for the prime ministerial post before elections. Is it right to fight elections without a leader?  

I am of the opinion that people should know their leader. I will put across my points in front of the Parliamentary Board.

Rahul Gandhi is also visiting Dalits’ home and is traveling extensively. Your yatra is being compared with his. What do you say?

I do not have anything to say about it. Lots of talks happen about my party. Why is there no discussion about the dynastic politics of the Congress?

The BJP is once again going to play cards of Kashi, Mathura and Ayodhya. Do you think this issue will affect people in current situation? 

This is your thinking. There is no such meaning of beginning and ending of yatra from a particular point. And now who is talking about those things that were spoken in 1990. After the decision of the High Court, clouds of doubt have been dispelled over the Ayodhya dispute. The High Court also seconds that Ram Janmabhoomi is at that place only.
 
Is the path of Advani and Anna Hazare the same?

In a democracy, political parties have to play a great role. It would be good if some social organizations work on this line. On the matter of corruption, not only BJP but all parties also are in favour of the Joint Parliamentary Committee.

Following this pressure, the JPC panel was formed. I too take responsibility in this regard. So, along with raising this issue in the Parliament I am also among public to share my view.

(JPN/ Bureau)