An inclusive Hindutva, not averse to change: Advani

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 23 2009, 04:15am hrs
Faced with a vigorous Hindutva vs moderation debate in the party after its defeat at the hands of the Congress in the general election, L K Advani on Sunday sought to refashion Hindutva as an inclusive, tolerant philosophy which was not averse to change with the changing times.

Invoking former RSS chief Balasaheb Deoras to stress on the change factor in the evolution of the BJP (as also the RSS), he said that the BJPs Hindutva was in accordance with the 95 Supreme Court verdict underlining Hindutva as a way of life even as he emphasised the partys RSS roots. How can a people believing in the dictum ekam sat vipra bahuda vadanti (truth is one, sages call it variously) ever become champions of a state which would uphold the interests of one religion at the cost of others, Advani, asked the party delegates, quoting former RSS chief Balasaheb Deorass Vijaya Dashmi speech, in 1980.

Seeking to settle the debate on Varun Gandhis Pilibhit speech, he warned against any bigoted anti-Muslim interpretation of Hindutva and was in agreement with Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Shahnawaz Hussain (who tore into Varuns speech at the party officebearers meet earlier).

It is said that the Sangh is changing and that it has to change further. It is a sign of their evolution. That which doesnt change is not living, it is dead, Advani quoted Deoras as saying, which was also meant to be a subtle message to assembled party delegates. Neither Advani nor the partys political resolution referred to right wing philosophy, preferring the nationalist tag for the party.

Advanis bid to refashion Hindutva found support from leaders from various states, besides the duo of Naqvi and Hussain. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that Muslim women had voted for him, at times much against the wishes of their husbands, because fruits of development had reached every section of society. Muslims must not go off the partys radar, he said. Party general secretary Gopinath Munde, whose aide Pasha Patel has been an advocate for the Sachar Committee recommendations in Maharashtra, said the party must reach out to Muslims even if they dont vote for it. Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, too, spoke on similar lines.

Apart from the deliberations on Hindutva, Advani also warned against finger-pointing and said that the media had exaggerated the partys loss by dubbing it as a rout. Sushil Modi said that it was unfair to blame Jaitley alone for the partys loss. The proceedings were smooth but for an altercation between Maneka Gandhi and the Naqvi-Hussain duo who clashed on interpretations of Hindutva and media leaks.