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Advani’s 2001 trip to Nagaland marked a turning phase

Advani Birthday

Centre ensured that Jamir Govt. was onboard

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 8: BJP patriarch LK Advani turned 95 on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.
He was Deputy Prime Minister under Atal Bihari Vajpayee between mid-2002 to 2004 and held Home portfolio as Vajpayee’s powerful No. 2 from 1998 to 2004.
The Naga peace parleys are very much in the news today and so are various Naga militant groups.
Led by N Kitovi Zhimomi-NNPG is a political reality. Thanks to the Vajpayee-Advani era of 2000-2001 that the ambit of the peace talks were broad-based.
Some of the initial steps the Government of India and the Home Ministry took then were even at the risk of provoking angry protest from the NSCN-IM, which was already in negotiations since 1997.
The inclusion of NSCN-K and the Federal Group was initiated at the instance of Advani as Home Minister. It was later divulged that the then Home Minister had especially directed senior officials like GK Pillai to ensure that the State Government, headed by Congress leader SC Jamir, too was onboard on the matter.
After a formal clearance by Prime Minister Vajpayee, Home Minister Advani, accompanied the then Additional Secretary PD Shenoy, visited Nagaland in February 2001. He was also accompanied by a small group of Journalists from Delhi. I was nominated by PTI to join the sojourn.
It was a crucial visit. The Budget session of Parliament was on and Advani did not want to share anything formally (to be quoted) saying he has to keep both the Houses informed first.
Even at the civic reception at Kohima local ground, he did not mention anything specific about any group.
He declined to field any direct question on the matter at a small press conference he addressed in presence of Jamir in the ATI Building at Kohima.
But there was ‘source based’ information for us. Advani knew the way journalism worked and so I distinctly remember he telling us in front of Lok Sabha MP, Asunga Sangma at Dimapur airport, “…Do not attribute anything to me.”
During this visit the ‘foundation’ for declaring a ceasefire with the NSCN-K was created.
Advani was sincere about resolving the Naga issue. He used to often say that history has given an opportunity to the BJP to make a mark and a deeper penetration in the Northeast.
As a die-hard anti-Congress politician, who was jailed during Emergency, Advani once while traveling in a BSF aircraft to Arunachal Pradesh, had told us how the success of regional parties such as TDP, AGP and various Lok Dal groups had encouraged him (Advaniji) and other BJP strategists to believe that there was a ‘big vacuum’ and that the people were looking for a genuine alternative to the Congress.
Now, that’s a political vision. And his disciple Narendra Modi is only harping precisely on the same point circa 2014. The lesson: a disciple only carries on the legacy of his Guru’s vision.
The Congress-mukt Indian politics is essentially an Advani brainchild. The Naga peace parleys were not BJP brainchild but Advani and Vajpayee worked sincerely to resolve the issue.
As they say ~ the ball is finally in the court of Narendra Modi.