21 September, 2020

Advani Draws A Hard Line

The home minister charts an independent agenda on Kashmir affairs, even as the PMO tries to calm things down

Advani Draws A Hard Line

THE confusion in the government seemed complete. In the battle of words that emanated from unexpected quarters—notably politicians close to home minister L.K. Advani waxing eloquent on diplomatic affairs with the same elan they reserve for rivals in general elections—the home minister was seen as seeking an unchartered territory. At the end of the day, the only section left out of the statement game was the foreign ministry, embodied in the good likeliness of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The result: over the weekend, the PMO made a last-ditch effort to get professional diplomats to do the talking and keep the politicians out. However, it remained unclear whether Vajpayee’s express missives at damage control included curbs on Advani as well.

 Just how much influence Advani has over the agenda was underscored by his taking over the charge of the department of Jammu and Kashmir affairs, a charge initially held by the home ministry but till recently held by the prime minister. A high-power meeting held last...



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