And now, expectedly, comes the "clarification" from Mr Advani today. When the resignation soap-opera has transformed into a VHP loud mouth contest.
This was on expected lines, as indeed had been pointed out by BJP spin meisters who had been too late in getting their act together, much after the controversy had snow-balled and the soap-opera had hit the prime time television.
And what was the explanation?
That Mr Advani had earlier in February 2004 also referred to the same August 11, 1947 speech by Jinnah: "At that time also, I read the full text of Jinnah's speech, but there was no uproar that time and perhaps the media failed to take note then."
Perhaps Mr Advani should then explain why there was an uproar this time? Why did his party gets its knickers in a twist and could not bring itself to say this much all the time while he was still in Pakistan or, for that matter, on his return when the soap-opera became a full-fledged crisis?
Indeed, why then did his party not make the full text even of what he had written in the visitor's book at the Jinnah mausoleum, available to the press immediately? Why, indeed, was the Karachi speech of a day later, where Mr Advani went to some length to explain his remarks, not made available to the press immediately and only later put up on the party website? [Please see the postscript added later to Cracks In The Parivar or Partition Of A Party]. The media made them lose their parsing ability?
What exactly were Mr Advani's protégés so afraid of? Why couldn't they just tell the press what Mr Advani and his aid told them he had said in Pakistan? Why didn't Mr Advani simply finish the controversy by simply saying this much on his return?
The press said what it did because the BJP was in a funk, shell-shocked and stunned at the very mention of the word Jinnah and, by its equivocation, made it transparent that it was deeply divided, united only in the whispering ambitions of all its TV stars. In fact, leaving aside Mr Vajpayee and Jaswant Singh who did not find anything wrong in what Mr Advani had said, the rest of the party was clearly unanimous in dissociating itself even from Mr Advani's careful formulations that became controversial. All that while when the VHP was calling him a traitor and far worse and the RSS was expressing "the anger" of its cadre.
If, indeed, there was no problem with the Jinnah speech, why the whole "resignation drama"?
Mr Advani's resignation, it is clear, was because his party did not only refuse to back his statements, but even tried, strangely, to stop those statements from being made public. Which is what confounded the confusion and chaos that resulted in all those bon mots, and various to-ings and fro-ings to Mr Advani and Mr Joshi over the tortured resolution that the party had to pass.
[Going by the mail received on the two-nation theory, it seems that perhaps some of our readers missed the comment we had added at the end of the BJP Statement of June 10: which was available only as a pop-up from Enduring Myths, Closed Minds].
It would only perhaps get Mr Advani into more trouble with the RSS and the VHP to persist and ask for clarifications: Does he find Savarkar's formulations on the two-nation theory repugnant as well? What does he have to say on the Sarsanghchalak's recent remarks about prostitutes and politics? Or the various VHP resolutions? But it would be nice to hear from those who actually were responsible for drafting the BJP resolution of June 10, without the usual dodges.
Meanwhile, we should perhaps be grateful that Mr Advani's commitment to the peace-press is intact; he has done well to once again reiterate Pakistan's sovereignty and that the "Akhand Bharat" as a concept has now changed with time to the wish for a confederation: "If Europe can become one, may trust between India and Pakistan grow and the gap will be bridged." Perhaps we can just say, "Inshallah!"