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'Advani's yatra will fail'

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Last updated on: April 06, 2006 01:46 IST
"The Suraksha Yatra of 2006 is different from L K Advani's previous rath yatras because this time he is dependent on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for its success," said Achyut Yagnik, political analyst and co-author of the book Creating a Nationality: Ramjanambhoomi Movement and the Fear of the Self

Yagnik, Left-leaning thinker and writer, told that in 1990 when Advani embarked upon a yatra over the Ram Janmabhoomi temple issue Modi and Pramod Mahajan were the architects behind the yatra. They needed Advani to carve out their political careers out of the event and out of his towering leadership.

Complete Coverage: The BJP Yatra

The situation is reversed in 16 years. Advani's future now depends on Modi, feels Yagnik.

Yagnik says that Advani's first yatra was successful because in 1990, the Sangh Pariwar was with him. Today the pariwar is fractured. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Kisan Sangh and Bajrang Dal toiled for BJP's success then while today all three are against Advani.

The BJP's organisational capabilities have suffered due to the Sangh Pariwar's infighting making Advani's task difficult. "Advani wants to resurrect himself through this yatra. He wants to gain back credibility he lost within the party," claims Yagnik. 

He said, "In 1990, the objective was clear and many Hindus because many were ready to support the idea of constructing a temple in Ayodhya. The 1990 yatra was culmination of something that started in form of Bharat Ekatma yatra in 1983 when gangajal was made the symbol of unity of India's Hindus."

Such symbolism to unite all shades of Hindus is missing this time. Yagnik argues that Shaktas (believers in Mother Goddesses), Shaiviites (followers of Lord Shiva) and Viashnavites (followers of Lord Vishnu) got united in favour of Ram temple movement but this yatra has no unifying theme. 

On the charge that the Congress also doesn't enjoy credibility when it played communal politics after the Shah Banu judgment and that the charge of Muslim appeasement does stuck on it occasionally, Yagnik said, "Since 1970s the Congress have Muslims in their electoral politics formula, they are one of the pillars of Congress along with Dalits and tribals, just like the Hindus are for the BJP.

Yagnik says, "The so called appeasement of Muslims by the Congress or the issue of national security are issues worth taking up in Parliament or the press club. You can't communicate "security" of country meaningfully on the streets. And how are Muslims connected to problem of security?"

Advani said that he got the idea for a yatra after the news of the Muslims headcount in Indian Army by the Sachchar Committee were published.

Yagnik said that the facts of the Sachchar Committee and its terms of reference are distorted by the BJP. Yagnik defends the attempt by saying, "In many states, Muslims are part of Other Backward Communities."

Yagnik concluded, "This yatra will not be successful."

Sheela Bhatt in Ahmedabad