‘WikiLeaks revelations will not shake faith in Jaitley’


BJP Vice-President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tells BRIJESH PANDEY the leaked cables will hurt the Congress in the Assembly polls

Photo: Shailendra Pandey

WikiLeaks cables have revealed that top BJP leader Arun Jaitley told (US assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs) Robert Blake that Hindu nationalism is an opportunistic issue for the BJP. Doesn’t the statement negate the very basis of the party’s ideology?
Arun Jaitley and the party have already clarified on the issue. I don’t think there is any need for further clarifications. As far as the Congress party is concerned, it is firing an expired missile at the BJP from the sinking ship of corruption. I think it will boomerang very badly on the Congress party and will not affect the BJP.

Earlier, the BJP was belligerent on the information leaked by WikiLeaks about Congress leaders and treated it as gospel truth. Now how can you discredit it?
We are not discrediting WikiLeaks. It is just a question of understanding. As far as the ideological commitment of the party, Jaitley or our commitment towards nationalism are concerned, we don’t need any certificate from the Congress, the UPA government or WikiLeaks.

There are people within the Sangh Parivar who feel that leaders like Jaitley are not deeply rooted in the Hindutva ideology.
We are not like the Congress that doesn’t have faith in its leaders and depends on the dynasty for its political survival. Our organisation has more space for our workers and irrespective of what WikiLeaks or somebody else is saying, we have full faith in Jaitley.

The BJP used the WikiLeaks cables to discredit the government. But now that it has put the BJP in the dock, has it lost credibility?
We are not questioning the credibility of WikiLeaks. We are not questioning the character of WikiLeaks, it is not our job. But as far as this particular leak is concerned, Jaitley has himself clarified and has explained that there is a lot of difference between version and assessment. The party and all the affiliates of the Sangh Parivar have full faith in Jaitley and no amount of allegations can shake this faith.

Based on his conversation with Jaitley, Blake concluded in the cables that the former’s credentials with the Sangh Parivar are weak and he may not have what it takes to mobilise the BJP base.
I don’t think there is any truth in this assessment. What is the criterion of mass leadership? Everybody knows that the BJP is a cadre-based party and Jaitley is a top leader. He is a big name and has covered a lot of political ground from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) to where he is right now. He is completely honest and committed to the ideology of the party as well as the Sangh Parivar. I don’t think that there is any confusion in the mind of anybody in the party. Our party functionaries have full faith in Jaitley, irrespective of what others are saying.

Even if Jaitley escapes unscathed, Congress leaders say that this conversation reveals the BJP’s true nature and shows that its Hindutva ideology is only for political gain.
We don’t need any lecture or certificate from the Congress, whose credibility stands completely demolished.Chor machaye shor (the thief is creating a ruckus).

Do you think that the WikiLeaks revelations will have a bearing on the upcoming Assembly elections?
There are many issues on which the Congress party will have to give answers to the electorate. There are the issues of corruption, price rise, bad governance, terrorism and Naxalism. The disclosures made by WikiLeaks will be the icing on the cake.

Brijesh Pandey is a Senior Correspondent with Tehelka.
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