Heartiest Compliment To Shri Advani, India's New Bharat Ratna  - Eastern Mirror
Tuesday, February 20, 2024
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Op-Ed

Heartiest Compliment to Shri Advani, India’s New Bharat Ratna 

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By EMN Updated: Feb 03, 2024 10:44 pm

SC Jamir

Former Governor Gujarat, Odisha, Maharashtra and Goa and former Chief Minister Nagaland

It gives me immense pleasure to congratulate Shri LK Advani on being conferred India’s highest civilian award. As the literal translation of the nomenclature ‘Bharat Ratna’ suggests — ShriL K Advani ji has been truly a ‘Jewel of India’. In 2024, political observers are bound to admit that the veteran Advani would always be remembered for bringing about a major transition in Indian politics especially since the 1990s. Of course, we belong to the same generation of Indian politicians.

Shri Advani was born 8th November, 1927. I was born four years later 17th October, 1931. I went to Parliament as a member of Lok Sabha in 1961. I was elected by the Interim Body of Nagaland as the first representative to Lok Sabha in 1961 just after the state of Nagaland was formed. L K Advani came to Parliament first time in 1970 as a member of the Rajya Sabha and served four terms till 1989. From then till 2014 – he was a member of Lok Sabha elected from various constituencies including New Delhi and Gandhinagar. In 2015, Advani was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honour. On Feb 3rd, 2024, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the country’s highest civilian award – Bharat Ratna – will be conferred to L K Advani. It’s a befitting tribute to a leader who stood steadfast in giving his party BJP and the country a decisive and assertive leadership. As a Congressman for many decades, we were also political opponents andthere were occasions we had differences in approach on many issues of politics and governance. I worked closely with him closely in a sense when he became the central Home Minister under Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee and I was the Chief minister of Nagaland in 1998. During my interactions with Shri Advani and also the then prime minister Late Vajpayee, I told them that the Ceasefire in Nagaland as announced between the NSCN-IM and then  Prime Minister, I. K Gujral government in 1997 was actually an initiative of the underground leaders. The fact of the matter is by 1996-97, my government had built up pressure on underground elements and their nefarious activities like extortion. Even globally many countries including in South East Asia had developed new policies towards militancy and terrorism.  So, my moot point was that the Gujral government should have handled the entire thing withthe NSCN-IM from a position of ‘strength’. But that might not have been the case. Even the negotiations were being held in foreign countries just because the NSCN-IM leaders insisted on the same. Once I told Advani ji, “often the Gujral Government acted innocently on many matters” and he would laugh. I used to share my opinion that the Nagaland state government was still in the dark on what “is being discussed”.

In fact, both Vajpayee and Shri Advani could not tell me more. Vajpayee ji used to smile and told me that as long as the underground would like to talk, we can go on talking even for hundred  years because talking is not difficult. Today, maybe everyone is realising that the Naga peace talks have gone far too long. And it is high time that both agreements that were formally signed with the underground groups should be announced officially by the Government of India without any hesitation. I will take this opportunity to also congratulate Prime Minister Modi’s governmentfor the decision taken in 2024 to honour L K Advani. He is a befitting candidate for that coveted award. But the central government under Shri Modi will also do well to resolve the Naga issue at the earliest. This will change the scenario in northeast India. I have said earlier as well, if a Solution is announced, Prime Minister Modiwill be remembered by the Naga people as a great statesman.

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By EMN Updated: Feb 03, 2024 10:44:58 pm
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