Advani Recalls How He Resigned to Maintain Probity in Public Life

New Delhi: In a veiled message to the Modi government in the wake of the controversy over Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje, BJP patriarch L K Advani today said there is a need to maintain probity in public life and recalled how he resigned soon after his name cropped up in the Hawala scam two decades ago.

Advani resigned as an MP in 1996 following allegations of his involvement in the infamous Hawala scam and he was consequently re-elected in 1998 after his name was cleared.

Entries found in the diaries of hawala broker S K Jain were presented as crucial evidence against top politicians including Advani in the court by CBI.

“For a politician, to command people’s trust is the biggest responsibility. What morality demands is ‘rajdharma’ and the need to maintain probity in public life,” Advani was quoted as having told the Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika.

External Affairs minister Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Raje are embroiled in a controversy over the help they extended to the tainted former IPL boss Lalit Modi in connection with his travel documents in the UK, triggering demands by the Congress for their resignation.

Advani, who is close to Swaraj, said he did not want to comment on the controversy involving the two leaders.

“I am far away from all this today. So I don’t have anything to comment. I am not in the decision making and so I have no comments to offer in the matter,” he added.

The online edition of the daily quoted the former deputy prime minister as having said that he quit on his own after the hawala scam.

“The day allegations were raised against me based on the Jain diaries, that evening itself, sitting in my house in Pandara Road I took the decision to resign (as MP). It was no one else’s decision, it was mine. Soon after I called up (Atal Bihari) Vajapyee to inform him of my decision. He asked me not to resign but I did not listen to anyone,” he said.

“People vote for us in elections. So commitment to the people is most important.”

Asked whether resignations should be the norm, Advani said, “I can only tell you about myself. What others will do, what’s their issue, what their problems are I don’t know. And I don’t want to comment on these.”

On former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who resigned following corruption charges, he said, “Since Jan Sangh era… even before that in RSS shakhas, we were taught honesty is the best virtue. There should be no compromise on corruption.”

Reacting to Advani’s remarks, Congress leader Rashid Alvi said the patriarch is showing the way to the BJP as well as the Prime Minister that those people who are “tainted” should be made to resign, whether it is Raje or Swaraj or anyone else.