Wikileaks blows BJP's whistle yet again; Jaitley in buzz

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Arun Jaitley
New Delhi, Mar 26: It was BJP's turn yet again to be hit by Wikileaks cables with a US diplomat reporting that its senior leader Arun Jaitley had remarked to him that Hindu nationalism is an "opportunistic issue" for his party.

"Pressed on the question of Hindutva, Jaitley argued that Hindu nationalism ''will always be a talking point'' for the BJP. However, he characterized this as an opportunistic issue," a cable by Robert Blake, the Charge at the US Embassy, to his government, had said after a meeting with Jaitley on May 6, 2005.

Jaitley, however, maintained that he had not used the word " oppurtunistic" while Congress attacked him saying those living in glass houses should not throw stones at others.

The cable by Blake said, "in India's northeast, for instance, Hindutva plays well because of public anxiety about illegal migration of Muslims from Bangladesh.

"With the recent improvement of Indo-Pak relations, he (Jaitley) added, Hindu nationalism is now less resonant in New Delhi, but that could change with another cross-border terrorist attack, for instance on the Indian Parliament," the cable, accessed by The Hindu, said.

Jaitley, the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha whom the cable described as "one of several aspirants to direct the next generation of BJP leadership", said in a statement that the word oppourtunistic in reference to Hindutva could be the "diplomat's own usage".

He said the cable by the diplomat in 2005 makes a reference to his conversation with him. "The cable reflects my views on cross-border terrorism, illegal infiltration from Bangladesh and the unfair denial of US Visa to the Gujarat Chief Minister (Narendra Modi).

"However, the use of the word "opportunistic" in reference to nationalism or Hindu nationalism is neither my view nor my language. It could be the diplomat's own usage," he said.

Losing no oppurtunity to corner BJP which is attacking the UPA over Wikileaks, Congress told the BJP that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others.

"Chickens are coming to roost, what goes out wrongly hits back like a boomerang. People living in glass houses are taught in this manner that they were to throw stones at others," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.

Jaitley, also told Blake that the controversy involving denial of visa to Chief Minister Narendra Modi continues to fester among the party rank and file, who see the action as a "personal attack" on a leader of the party that began the transformation of US-India relations.

However, Jaitley "agreed" with Blake that Modi was a "polarising personality" but argued that it would have been better for the US to let the Chief Minister visit the US where he would have attracted a few demonstrators.

Last week, the party faced attack over Wikileaks revelations that its senior leader L K Advani had told US diplomats that the party would not harm the Indo-US nuclear deal if it came to power in 2009 elections even though it opposed the accord.

There was also another report quoting one of its National Executive member Seshadri Chari telling a US diplomat in 2005 that the party foreign policy resolution critical of US in an executive meeting was for public consumption and too much should not be read into it.

PTI

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