Sushma says Advani has learnt his lesson

Himalayan News Service

New Delhi, June 11:

Bruised by the row caused by his remarks on Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president LK Advani today said that he had learnt his lesson.

Addressing central party leaders, Advani, who yesterday took back his resignation ending four days of suspense and political fireworks, said the developments would help plan for the future better. “Advani said the last few days have taught him great lessons in his life. One part of it was during his visit to Pakistan and the other after his return from that country,” BJP general secretary Sushma Swaraj quoted him as saying. “(Advani) said it would definitely help him in future endeavours,” she said. Advani resigned as BJP president on Tuesday, a day after returning from an eight-day tour of Pakistan during which he spoke about Jinnah in Karachi, the city where he was born. Advani withdrew his resignation yesterday after the party described his journey to Pakistan as a success but made it clear that it did not agree with his Jinnah remarks.

Rejecting Advani’s call for a debate over Jinnah, the BJP said the Pakistani founder leader had founded a “theocratic and non secular Pakistan” and was to blame for the division of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan regardless of what he said in his speeches. The BJP leaders met at the party headquarters here to felicitate Advani on his return to the party’s top post. Even as BJP activists marked his return by bursting firecrackers, Advani said it was no time to celebrate. “We should not celebrate until and unless we win the (assembly) elections in Bihar,” referring to the October-November polls in the state. Advani and other National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders yesterday led a march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to parade 126 Bihar legislators before President APJ Abdul Kalam to show that they had majority support in the 243-seat house when it was suddenly dissolved. “What the president will do and what the court will decide is for the future. But when Bihar goes to the polls, people of the state will cast their vote for (BJP-led) NDA,” he said.