No to party politics, contest in elections and craving for the party/govt posts

Sri S.Gurumurthy

Translation of his article, as appeared in Thuglak tamil weekly, dated 23–09–2020. The original author is Sri S.Gurumurthy ji.

No to party politics, contest in elections and craving for the party/govt posts

This had happened in the year 1992. Prior to my arrest in 1987, I was actively exposing the corruption in the government. It helped to generate an image for myself. As a corollary, It made me to play an active role in the front-line politics. Despite his promises to Indian express group, the then PM Sri Rajiv Gandhi started supporting the Ambanis. Out of anger & frustration, Sri Goenka assigned the task of opposing the Sri Rajeev Gandhi’s govt, to me. From there, I started digging my heels in the arena of active politics. It led to wonderful experiences in politics and unexpected praises for me. In 1989 elections, the incumbent was defeated at the centre. There was a feeling that this change was triggered by Indian express group. Titles like Chanaykan, political strategist for me started circulating in the political circles, press etc. Then, I was pressured to participate in the active politics by the then BJP leadership. I was saved by the saint of Kanchi and would like to share my experiences, here.

Totally submerged in active politics

Rajeev Gandhi

In 1984, Indian national congress under the leadership of Sri Rajeev Gandhi, won 414/524 parliamentary seats. The strength of the opposition was considerably reduced in the parliament. The BJP got only 2 seats. The political rise of Sri Rajeev Gandhi started waning from 1987. There was a thought that by uniting the different factions of the old Janata party and if it can be aligned with BJP, then there is a chance to defeat the Congress. No doubt, its feasibility was beyond the imagination of many. The task in hand was an arduous one — first to unite the different factions of Janata party, followed by its alignment with BJP. To make that happen, Indian Express group was forced to jump into active politics. It was a gargantuan task. As part of that Bhageeratha effort, I met all the leading politicians of the country. Needless to say, I was totally submerged in the political sea and swimming against the tide. The onerous task of creating a padma-vyhua against Congress, fell upon Indian Express group.

I had the good fortune of discussing the strategies with Sri Cho Ramaswamy. He used to tease me as as a “conspirator”Once, he gave me a 250 page notebook and jokingly mentioned that I can fill it up with 250 conspiracies.

Just imagine the task at hand; On the one hand, We have had Sri V.P.Singh, who was fond of muslim vote bank politics. And, on the other hand, there was BJP, which was hell-bent on constructing a mandir for Sriram ji at Ayodhya. They were at the opposite end of the spectrum. Without the spear-heading of Indian Express group, it would not have been possible to unite them and defeat the congress. The defeat of congress in 1989 was a major turning point in Indian politics. It was a great opportunity for BJP that was sidelined, until then. It went on to become a major force under Sri AB Vajpayee and helped to form a coalition govt at the centre.

Member-post in Rajya Sabha

BJP won 88 seats in 1989 and 120 seats in 1991. In both the elections, I was head-lined in the political theatre and many interviews of mine were published in the newspapers/magazines. I was portrayed as one of the top 50 most important people in the country by the magazine,Gentleman. This sudden recognition forced me to join BJP. I was continually pressured by Sri Vajpayee ji, Advani ji, Govindacharya ji and many more. The idea was to get an entry into Rajya-sabha(RS) in 1992 biennial elections. Sri Cho and many others persuaded by me. The clamour for my RS entry was gaining momentum.

I was groomed by Sri Surya Narayana Rao ji. He, along with Sri Shanmughanathan ji of TN RSS, were of the opinion that my entry into RS/politics would help to bolster the national thought in Tamilnadu. I was in a confused state, since I was not mentally inclined to take up that role. But, how can I say “No” to so many senior people and well wishers? If I had accepted that offer, it would have become a major tragedy in my life. Good God, the credit goes to Sri Kanchi-Mahaswami, who rescued me out of that predicament.

Have You Read Mahatma Gandhi?

Kanchi Mahaswami

I paid my visit to Sri Kanchi-Mahaswami and offered my Namaskarams. Pat came the question, Have you read the works of Mahatma Gandhi? It added more to my confused state of mind. I came here to seek his reply for my question and he, in-turn has added more questions. There are 90 volumes of the writings of Mahatma. Here and there, I have tasted. Not beyond that. Sri Mahaswami told me to read a particular interview and come back with your favourite theme in that. Luckily, I got the reply for my question in that interview.

Gandhi had absolute faith in Varnasrama dharma. The interviewer was questioning him on those lines in addition to the political questions. There was a pointed question — can Brahmins participate in politics, directly? Mahatma reply went like this — Yes, they can participate in general politics; but, they should not crave for any party/govt positions and should not contest in elections. It was so amazing that this suited perfectly for me. Another question was posted to Mahatma — You are a vaisya; How come you are in active politics? The reply was this is part of “aapath-dharma”, a contingency plan to help the troubled nation. Now, my confusion has evaporated, totally. It was just not an off-the-cuff reply. It bears the stamp of “Satyam” on it. Now, I understood the loaded question posed by Sri Kanchi-Mahaswami. He understood my predicament by instinct and helped me to arrive at a solution.

No to party-politics, election and posts

I went back to Kanchipuram and shared my understanding. How do you feel now? I accepted that direct competitive politics is not my cup of tea and does not suit my temperament. There is “satyam” in Mahatma’s words. Then, silence prevailed there and I was waiting for him to open up. With a friendly smile, Alright, you yourself felt that Mahatma was right. Let there be no participation from your end in party-politics, election & posts. He raised both his hands and blessed me. My confusion got evaporated. A big weight was removed from my shoulders. I shared the views of Sri Kanchi-Mahaswami with the senior leaders, well-wishers and decided not to contest for the RS seat. In fact, this helped to boost my image within BJP.

Still, some people discuss about it. Had I taken the Rajya-sabha route, I was not sure, whether I would have retained my importance? After the completion of my term in RS, I would have been deeply buried in seeking more terms, canvassing etc. This was vaporized by Sri kanchi-Mahaswami in no time. Still, this decision was not appreciated by Sri Cho and multiple times, he has told me.

Cho Ramaswamy

During the reign of Sri Vajpayee, I was having a meal with Sri Cho at Sri Advani ji’s house. Both were persuading me to take up a post and contribute. Again, I gave my explanation. It was well received by sri Advani ji, but not by Sri Cho. He kept on harping on the same lines. In his kumudam interview (dated 11-Dec-2013, after 10–12 years), he did mention that Gurumurthy could have taken up any post in Sri Vajpayee’s govt. He did not. If he takes up one in the future then it would be good for the country. At that time, I did not read that interview. Later, it was published as part of table-top calendar and came to my attention. Then, I told Sri Cho, by renouncing, my fame grew more and that would not have happened, If I had accepted a post/position in the govt.

This experience was a grace from Sri Kanchi-Mahaswami.