Ranchi, March 27 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari Sunday defended senior party colleague Arun Jaitley on a leaked US embassy cable which referred to the latter’s purported remark on Hindu nationalism being “opportunistic”.
The cable, released by WikiLeaks, suggested that an American diplomat purportedly wrote that Jaitley had remarked during a meeting that the BJP’s Hindu nationalism was an “opportunistic” issue.
“Jaitely denied the allegation when I spoke to him on the issue. Jaitely’s remark were a wrong interpretation,” said Gadkari here Sunday at a press conference.
He said: “Jaitely is a dedicated party worker.”
Jaitley maintained last week that he had not used the term “opportunistic” in reference to Hindu nationalism and that it was “neither my view nor my language”.
The cable from the charge d’affaires at the US embassy here to Washington on the diplomat’s meeting with the BJP leader on May 6, 2005, had said: “Pressed on the question of Hindutva, Jaitley argued that Hindu nationalism ‘will always be a talking point’ for the BJP. However, he characterised this as an opportunistic issue.”
It also said that in India’s northeast, for instance, Hindutva played well because of public anxiety about illegal migration of Muslims from Bangladesh.
Jaitley, in a statement, said the cable reflected his views on cross-border terrorism, illegal infiltration from Bangladesh and the unfair denial of US visa to 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.