Meet BJP Leader Advani’s Support System

L K Advani

L K Advani

Meet BJP Leader Advani’s Support System
Diptosh Majumdar / CNN-IBN
Sat, May 02, 2009

New Delhi: Last week, CNN-IBN met the family of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who appeared together for the first time on television. Similarly, this week, National Affairs Editor Diptosh Majumdar meets the family of BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani.

After much persuasion, the three closest people in Advani’s life – his daughter Pratibha Advani, son Jayant Advani, and his daughter-in-law Geetika Advani – agreed to their first-ever interview together.

Following are the excerpts.

CNN-IBN: Has it (life) always been like this – frenetic and full of activity?

Pratibha Advani: Yes, as far back as I can remember, it’s always been like this. This is the fifth time Dada (Advani) is running from Gandhinagar. Every time the family comes together, it’s a big occasion.

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CNN-IBN: Mrs Advani told me that if the cooking is right and if she is around, he (Advani) eats a lot. Is it right?

Pratibha Advani: I don’t think he has a lot of food. In fact, she is the true mother. We all call her annapurna (Hindu Goodess of food) because she loves feeding us.

CNN-IBN: You all were young when he was the Union Home Minister and the Deputy PM…

Jayant Advani: (laughs): …No! We weren’t young when he was that…

Pratibha Advani (laughs): We are still young! We were young during the time of emergency and that’s when we used to miss our father, miss his presence in our life.

CNN-IBN: The entire family went when he was released from jail?

Pratibha Advani: The day he was released, the morning of that day itself Sathya Sai Baba told my mother, ‘don’t worry, he’ll be released soon’. As soon as we reached home, we got to know the orders had come. I always believe that the Hindi song Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya suits him really well.

CNN-IBN: You all were born in 60s and it was a very important event for him. He says he took a lot of interest in your parenting.

Jayant Advani: When we were in school, in spite of his busy schedule, in spite of the fact that he was a minister in 1977, he would come home with books, crosswords and puzzles. He was very concerned about what we were learning and studying in school.

Pratibha Advani: Also, homework…

CNN-IBN: Were you afraid of him?

Pratibha Advani: No, never. It was the mom who had the danda (cane). We (Jayant and Pratibha) were both bright.

CNN-IBN: So does the family sit together and watch a film on any day?

Pratibha Advani: Absolutely.

CNN-IBN: What was the last film you watched together?

Pratibha Advani: Taare Zameen Par?

Jayant Advani: No, Delhi-6. He understands cinema. He wants to know who’s the director, who’s written the script, who’s the music director etc – he goes into that kind of detailing.

CNN-IBN: Everybody would want to know the special relation you all had with the Vajpayee children and Vajpayee family.

Pratibha Advani: We’ve always been friendly. We’ve celebrated occasions like Holi together. So it’s always been like going to each others’ houses and all.

CNN-IBN: Daily handling of money is not his strong point.

Pratibha Advani: Not not his strong point, it’s really weak. He doesn’t know the M of money. He’ll have Rs 100 or Rs 200 in his pocket which will last him for many months till he offers them in a temple or something. I don’t think he spends on anything else.

CNN-IBN: While J P is important to you?

Pratibha Advani: It was an assembly speech I gave in Modern School. (saying) the main contest will be between Congress and Janata Party. Janata Party was formed largely due to the efforts of Shri J P Narayan. Incidentally, the short-form of Janata Party is also JP; my brother’s name is Jayanat and I am Pratibha so we also add up to JP. So there was a big kick in school by giving this kind of speech.

CNN-IBN: Will there be a day when we’ll see Jayant and Pratibha entering politics?

Jayant Advani: Let’s no speculate on it right now.

Pratibha Advani: Not for the moment for me at least. Not at all. The ringside view it very interesting. It’s nice to see people perform rather than perform yourself.

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