Confusion still persists on Jinnah controversy: Singhal

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New Delhi, Apr 3 (UNI) Even as former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani clarified his stand on the Jinnah controversy in his book, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad today said ''the clouds of confusion still needed to be cleared.'' Talking to reporters here, VHP leader Ashok Singhal said, ''Aasman abhi saaf nahi hua hai...'' (clouds of confusion still need to be cleared). Mr Singhal's response came when asked about the reference in the book on the controversy on Mr Advani remarks over Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah during his 2005 visit to Pakistan.

Another VHP leader Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, however, claimed that Mr Advani had clarified in his book that he had only referred to the speech made by Mr Jinnah in the Pakistan Constituent Assembly.

'' He also admitted that it was a ''mistake'' to blame Mr Advani over the remarks but said it was difficult to point out who made the mistake.

In his autobiography ''My Country, My Life'' released recently, Mr Advani recalled that the controversy was ''simply the most agonising moment of his political life, more distressing indeed, than when he faced corruption charges in the 'Hawala' episode in 1996.'' He withstood Hawala charges as his party stood by him but in Jinnah controversy, several party colleagues chose not to support him even as the remarks were made in good intention to convey a point that Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be a non-theocratic state.

Mr Advani said his ''approbatory references'' to Jinnah's speech of August 11, 1947 at Pakistan's Constituent Assembly precipitated quite a controversy back home in India, particularly within the BJP's own support base. ''I was hastily held guilty of committing a grave and unacceptable 'ideological deviation', of having betrayed Hindutva' and in the estimation of some, even of being a 'gaddaar' (traitor),'' Mr Advani said.

Maintaining that his visit to Pakistan in 2005 was aimed at normalising relations between the two estranged nations, BJP prime ministerial candidate and Leader of the Opposition L K Advani said the controversy over his remark on Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah brought him ''pain''.

''I went to Pakistan as a messenger of peace, with an earnest desire to contribute to the normalisation of relations between the two long-estranged nations. I still believe that my visit made a finite contribution to the advancement of this objective,'' he writes after after three years of his visit, which forced him to quit the party post within a year after assuming the charge for the third-term.

UNI NAB SYU HT1930

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