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 ” opportunistic” 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 opportunistic 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.