New Delhi: As voices are raised in the Congress for Rahul Gandhi as India’s next prime minister, opposition BJP leader LK Advani Sunday termed it “sad” that the Congress has become the “fiefdom of a single family” and has “reserved” the prime minister’s post for a “nominee” or a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family.
“Prime ministership of a great democracy like India should not be allowed to become the jagirdari of a family,” Advani said in his blog, http://blog.lkadvani.in.
“Sadly, the Congress today has become the fiefdom of a single family. The office of prime minister is reserved either for the nominee or a member of the Nehru family,” he added.
“India is paying a heavy price because of a prime minister nominated by the Congress president,” he said.
“And now the demand has arisen from within the Congress Party that a scion of the Nehru family should take over the prime ministership,” Advani, a former deputy prime minister, said.
He was referring to voices in the Congress once again saying that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s son Rahul Gandhi fits the bill as the next prime minister of India. Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh had repeatedly said that the MP from Amethi had all the qualities and capabilities to become a “good prime minister”.
“Our country cannot afford continuation of the misrule that UPA represents,” he added.
Advani also said there was a time when the Congress was a broad platform that accommodated patriots of all hues.
In this regard, he said it was at the behest of Mahatma Gandhi that Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, who then belonged to the Hindu Mahasabha, and BR Ambedkar, who had been a bitter critic of the Congress party, were included in Jawaharlal Nehru’s first cabinet after Independence in 1947.
Nehru’s special gift: Advani also slammed the Nehru family whose “lack of courage” led to the Kashmir issue remaining unresolved.
The BJP leader also slammed late chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah whose ambition to be the leader of independent Kashmir also contributed to the issue.
Advani said neither the government of Nehru in New Delhi nor the government of Abdullah in Srinagar believed that Jammu and Kashmir needed to be fully integrated into the Indian union.
“In the case of Abdullah, the problem was his ambition to become the unquestioned leader of a virtually independent Kashmir. In the case of Nehruji, it was a matter of lack of courage, firmness and foresight,” Advani said.
He said that Article 370, which gives a special status to Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian constitution, had “emboldened” secessionist forces in the state to carry out their “poisonous propaganda that (Kashmir’s) accession to India is not final and that Kashmir, in particular, is not a part of India.”
Advani wrote that India had lost two opportunities to settle the issue once and for all with Pakistan — one in the 1947 war when Nehru ruled the country and the other in the 1971 Bangladesh war when Nerhu’s daughter Indira Gandhi was at the helm.
“Our countrymen should know that the Kashmir problem is Nehru family’s special ‘gift’ to the nation,” he wrote in a sarcastic vein.
“Nehruji’s blunder was totally avoidable. The consequences of this ‘gift’ are Pakistan’s export of cross-border terrorism and religious extremism, thousands of lives of our security personnel and civilians and tens of thousands of crores of rupees spent on military and paramilitary defence.”
The BJP leader’s comments come days after India and Pakistani in foreign secretary level talks in Islamabad discussed a range of issues relating to peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir and the promotion of trade.
Advani also warned against giving any autonomy to the state because “the implications must be understood”. (IANS)