Mr Advani, WHAT are you trying to SELL?

  • Created on Saturday, 15 October 2011 21:17
  • Published on Saturday, 15 October 2011 21:17
  • Written by Punyatma Sharan, Founder/CEO - PolityIndia.Com, has a BA (Political Science) from India and MBA (Finance) from USA.

AdvaniThere is no doubt in anyone's mind in India that everyone, either living in a urban center or in a rural area, have been exposed enough to the 2G scam, CWG scam and other scams happening in our country.

In this age of information highway, news probably travels faster than light and all the news carriers '“ TV, Newspapers, Internet etc have done an excellent job of informing us of the scandals. Some of the media entities might be having their own political agendas but they did not shy away from reporting the hard news, and in my opinion, satisfied their social responsibility. They made everyone aware of what is going on in our country. It is almost impossible to find anyone who can even feign ignorance on this issue.

The BJP patriarch L K Advani embarked on a 'Jan Chetna Yatra' from Sitab Diara, birthplace of Jayaprakash Narayan in Saran district in Bihar on October 11. The 38-day nationwide anti-corruption '˜rath yatra' is the culmination of several press conferences by the BJP and vociferous denunciations by the Congress-led UPA government. In the capital city of Patna and across the State, grandiose banners featuring top BJP leaders connected with Bihar and presided over with a solemn-looking '˜JP' (as Jayaprakash was affectionately known) sprung up in squares and sidewalks. According to party sources, 84 welcome arches were put up for the octogenarian's visit as he traveled the length of Bihar in a van converted into a chariot of sorts, to preach the message of anti-corruption. The campaign was flagged off by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, amid boisterous cheers of the crowd that showed up for the event despite enervating heat. The yatra will traverse through 22 states in 38 days.

According to the BJP, the main purpose of this yatra is to create awareness about corruption. I feel that the last thing Indian people have to be informed is that there is rampant corruption in the country. They understand that there is corruption at high, middle and low levels in the country. There is corruption if you want a big contract at the highest level and there is corruption at the level where you are trying to get a passport, driver license or a ration card. Everyone accepts the monster existence of corruption and not one person would even think of denying it.

I do not want to go into the details of the yatra because as I said before, that in this information age, everyone knows about it. I have a very simple question. If everyone is so aware of corruption, what kind of awarenes L K Advani is trying to create? The answer lies in the undeniable fact that the yatra resulted from a unilateral initiative by Advani. My friends in BJP tell me that there were many reservations over the yatra within the BJP and its larger ideological family. The number of people who are attending his meetings is like a small drop in the ocean of humanity in India. The Indian public feels that the yatra is more like a comeback yatra for Advani who is interested in getting his last shot to become the prime minister. It was even more ironical when Karnataka's former BJP chief minister  B S Yeddyurappa was arrested on charges of corruption during his yatra. 

There is no doubt that L K Advani enjoys the status of a tall leader in our nation's polity but by going on this yatra, he has diminished his own image. India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% hovers below the age of 35 and this segment of the population can relate to only two words '“ governance and deliverance. They are very indifferent to other things...I am sure that any kind of yatra to create awareness for corruption is a very hard pill for them to swallow. I feel that instead of calling it a Jan Chetna Yatra to create awareness about corruption, it would have been better if they would have called it Jan Sampark Yatra. The cancerous issue of corruption has been debated and discussed enough already. Instead of trying to create awareness about corruption, they should have offered ideas to combat it. Any kind of political activity which even has an iota of semblance of theatrics in it is not acceptable to the public.

If the Indian public is already very aware and sold on the issue of corruption, what L K Advani is trying to sell?


# Sailesh Varma 2011-10-17 00:01
Folks like Advani is the reason why BJP is where they are today. These folks are so hungry for power and will do anything to not let go. I guess, he still has the dream to be the PM. That 'old generation' has to let go and promote an environment that will infuse new blood and new ideas. That is what the new generation is looking for.
# Atul Shastri 2011-10-17 12:10
Punyatma has very rightly pointed out that the average age of India is very young and L K Advani is 84 years old. There is no way his thinking can be in sync with YOUNG INDIA. He would be doing India a favour by staying in the background.
# Madhu Srivastava 2011-10-17 12:16
L K Advani and other political leaders should realise that the Indian public is sick and tired of dharnas and rallies. They want results and Jan Chetna Yatra is a sheer waste of time. Punyatma is absolutely right in asking that what is L K Advani trying to sell.
# Anamika Mishra 2011-10-17 12:21
Another great analysis by Punyatma. I have a lot of respect for L K Advani. He means well for the country but is totally out of touch with the demands and needs of the population. His yatra is perceived as nothing else but a political stunt and commands no respect of the Indian people.
# Dr Daya Dayal 2011-10-18 02:15
I would not agree a point lesser than put up by Punyatma. Advani is old. His yatra is meaningless, waste of time and public fund(taken as "chanda"), is a deterrent to progress of our nation and a gimmick for cheap popularity. BJP has no youth leader to inspire. What we require to do is stop reading those newsprints covering political stories, stop watching TV channels showing netas(hopeless people making no positive contribution to development of Nation). Let us take a vow not to make these useless people hero and popular for they are not worth it!!
# Kalpana Singh 2011-10-18 19:19
L K Advani at the age of 84 should take political sanyas and not thrust his good health on the Indian public. His yatra is nothing else but a political drama and the public is seeing through it. Everyone knows about the rampant corrruption. What is he trying to accomplish?
+1 # Deepak Mathur 2011-10-18 19:25
I am a big admirer of Punyatma's writing and agree with his views all the time but this time I differ from his analysis. There is still a very big chunk of Indian population who is not aware of the scams. Please let L K Advani do his job of trying to inform the public. If it is not going to help, it is not going to hurt India either.
# Ajay Yadav 2011-10-18 19:37
A very good and aggressive article. Even though I was not his friend, I know Punyatma since his college days and we all know that he has very close friends at a very senior level in both Congress and BJP. I remember that when he was elected to the Student's Union, he became a very vocal voice representing the student interests. There was a joke on campus that everytime Punyatma entered the office of the vice chancellor of the university for a meeting, he used to get up from his chair and come to the door to greet him. I admire that Punyatma does not spare anybody. He can be critical of both Sonia Gandhi and L K Advani with the same intensity. It shows his guts and impartial take on issues. I guess this is the main reason for PolityIndia.com 's immense popularity.
# Rajiv Ahuja 2011-10-19 19:59
I disagree with Deepak Mathur that we should not be critical of Advani for undertaking this yatra. There is not a single person(includin g supporters of the Congress party)in the country who does not believe that UPA government is very corrupt. The disease has been diagnosed and now we have to work on the treatment. Unfortunately, Advani is still talking about the disease.
# Mukta Dhar 2011-10-19 20:02
L K Advani is simply trying to hoodwink the nation by going on this yatra.
# Rakhee Sharma 2011-10-19 20:08
L K Advani has a total disconnect with the needs of contemporary India. Only young people can relate to young India. As Vajpayee, it is also time for Advani to make a graceful exit from the political scene.
# Kalpana Rastogi 2011-10-21 11:05
Where is Mr Advani's rath at this moment? No idea. There is hardly any news on his yatra. He has not made any speech, any comment, any such remark which could receive public attention. It was only the start of the journey which drew some attention. In fact, BJP should have taken full advantage of the precarious situation in which Congress is but alas their inner bickerings and lack of farsightedness and aggressive leadership has led to a passive response only. Mr Advani, Mr Jaitley, Mrs Swaraj - wake up to the new call of the public, get your words and your act together. If this is what is happening before the elections, God alone knows what will be the position when you win the election. You need to show the public the mirror as to what the future of India would be like. Certainly not on rath. I remember when Laloo Yadav chose lantern as his party's election symbol, there was a joke going around that it is symbolic that he will take us back to the lantern days...
# Sandhya Sinha 2011-10-23 11:40
I agree with you completely Punyatma ji. It definitely is a jan-sampark yatra. As for awareness of corruption - who will know better than the recipients - the aam aadmi. All politicians, barring a few, have lost their sheen. There is no respect or regards for them amongst the masses. One must hear the comments and the 'gaalees' of the people while sitting and watching news at the airports or when you go to the clusters at the nukkads. These politicians must take a break and think about changing the political scenario, something like what Kamaraj did ages ago.
# Ranjit Sinha 2011-11-11 16:49
L K Advani is short on imagination. Only thing he knows is Rath Yatra. Every time we turn around I see Advani ji on his rath. If Mr.Advani wants to take his message to the masses, he must come up with new ideas. In India, one must spread the ideas to as many people as possible. The focus must be on few key ideas. Then workers should be able to take these ideas to local level. It is time to begin now for the next election. There is not much time. It is imperative to get off the rath and mix with people.


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