Mangalore: Advani's Rath Yatra - Will it Serve Any Purpose?
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore
Mangalore, Oct 31: Senior BJP leader L K Advani, who was in the city on Monday October 31 to address a public gathering as part of his nationwide Jan Chetna Rath Yatra, had only one agenda in mind - expose UPA government's corruption.
Embarking on the sixth Rath Yatra of his political career was seen by many as a last-ditch attempt to rekindle the hopes of becoming the country's Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 85. But more than that, the Yatra came under criticism mainly for its timing - at a time when the first BJP government in the south was reeling under charges of corruption, with four of its ministers, including former CM B S Yeddyurappa in jail, here was Advani crying hoarse against that very menace. It was an irony of the highest order, which gave the Congress a new weapon to mock fun at the BJP.
Advani had been advised not to enter Karnataka, but as he admitted in his 45-minute speech, he decided to carry out the Yatra in the state and take the bull by its horns. It was brave of him indeed, but Advani has always been a forthright politician.
In Mangalore, a gritty Advani told the gathering that as senior party leader, it was his responsibility to set matters right, and corruption in his own party was something that he would not compromise with. This statement was a repeat from his Bangalore leg of the Yatra, and again in Udupi. The question, however, that political experts are asking is, whether being the senior party leader he would take any concrete action against his erring men, or does he think only speeches would suffice? Mere words make only sound, and without action they mean nothing. Would the BJP high command have the guts to oust Yeddyurappa from the party, or for that matter, even Janardhana Reddy?
In Bangalore too, Advani downplayed corruption in his own house in the south, and chose to lash out at UPA. The diatribe against the UPA has been the single most common feature of the entire Yatra. True, UPA with its scams and scandals has deserved every bit of criticism, but what the common man would like is not a repetation of all that is already known, but ideas that would help clean the system. Advani's speech, in Mangalore at least, was lacking in this front - while he spoke at lenght about black money, corruption and the goodness of Jan Sangh, there was no clue of any solution in sight. And, if one were to argue that a solution is not so easy to find, then what exactly would the purpose of the Rath Yatra boil down to? An anti-corruption Yatra, or an anti-UPA Yatra?
Advani perhaps is a bit relieved that he could enter Karnataka and keep his face despite the political storms in the state. It is perhaps a good thing that some of his ministers are in jail - instead of being a thorn in the bush, it can actually be a trump card to say, 'look - we are abiding by the law and sending the corrupt amongst us behind bars, which proves our integrity.' Advani in his speech called credibility the highest virtue of all, and to prove it, undertook the Yatra to Karnataka despite all odds. Yeddyurappa who had once seemed indestructible has been thoroughly sidelined, perhaps much to the satisfaction of the rival camp within the state BJP. Chief minister Sadananda Gowda, who was seen as Yeddyurappa's minion, also made high promises of delivering a clean system, possibly boosted by the fact that some of the corrupt are already in jail, or simply to show himself as different from his predecessor.
In the end, all that one wants to know is, will the Yatra do any good to the state, or to the nation? Not until it turns into action, for sure.