India needs a leadership that can argue with the Prime Minister on issues based on principles, and fearlessly express views without worrying whether he would be pleased or angry, BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi said Tuesday. Joshi made the remarks at a memorial meeting for Congress leader and former Union minister S Jaipal Reddy, who died on July 28 in Hyderabad.
Recalling his association with Reddy during the early 1990s, when they were members of a forum of Parliamentarians on intellectual property rights, Joshi said: “Till the end, on this issue, he used to express his viewpoint at every level, whether he was a member of the forum, member of the Janata Party or member of the Congress party…he never compromised on these issues.”
The BJP stalwart said: “Mein aisa samajhta hun ki aajkal aise netritva ki bohut aavashyakata hain jo siddhandhon ke saat bebaaki ke saat aur bin kuch is baat ke chinta kiye hue pradhan mantri naraaz honge ya khush honge, apni baat saaf saaf kehte hain, unse bahas karte hain.”
“(I feel there is an acute need for such a leadership today that can, based on principles, without fear, express views clearly without worrying whether the Prime Minister will be pleased or angry, and argue with him).”
Joshi said that even after Reddy became a minister in the I K Gujral government, he agreed to convey the forum’s views to the Prime Minister — and when his opinion was sought, he said “without any hesitation, in clear words, that he agrees with the proposal of the forum”.
Incidentally, Joshi was the BJP president between 1991 and 1993, when he took out an Ekta Yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. At the time, Narendra Modi was the yatra’s coordinator.
Singh said Reddy stood for righteousness in his political career and opposed anything that he felt was unjust or wrong. “Whether it pleased somebody or not, he always went according to his beliefs. As a Parliamentarian, he expressed himself without compromising on whatever he believed in and he chose very specific words in his speeches,” he said.
Among the others who spoke were Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja, Sharad Yadav and Congress’s Abhishek Singhvi.