A book authored by Vishwambhar Srivastava on senior BJP leader L.K. Advani was released on Friday, but Advani’s office has put out a letter distancing the leader from the book. Srivastava has been Advani’s Additional Private Secretary (APS) for over three decades. Sources close to Srivastava claim that the letter does not have Advani’s consent, as it does not have his signature on it, adding that “certain elements” in Advani’s office are behind the letter.
“We do not believe that Advani has a role in writing the letter as he is a man who has always advocated freedom of speech. In fact, the letter does not contain his signature,” a source told The Sunday Guardian.
The book, Advani Ke Saath 32 Saal, has been printed by Anil Prakashan and has political anecdotes on Advani, including of the Ayodhya movement period. The book release function was attended by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy and former RSS leader K.N. Govindacharya. During the book release function, noted litterateur Ram Bahadur Rai said that some people in Advani’s office had “got active” and that there was a “Kaikeyi” inside his house. A day before the release, a letter issued by Deepak Chopra, Advani’s personal secretary, and having Chopra’s signature on it, said: “This book does not have the consent of L.K. Advani and has been published against his wishes.” The source told this correspondent that Advani had been sent the manuscript. “In fact, the first copy of the book was presented to Advani in November last year on his birthday,” the source said, citing the photograph of the author holding the book along with Advani.
The source added that Advani had gone through the manuscript in 2008 itself and had suggested some parts to be dropped, which was done by the author. “Around the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Srivastava was ready to get the book printed. Advani, who was then the prime ministerial candidate of the NDA, however, ‘suggested’ not to publish the book at that time as there could be controversy,” the source said.
“Though he ‘suggested’ not to publish the book, Advani also left it to the author to take a final call. He told the author that he was free to decide whether he wanted to go ahead with its publishing and that his was only an ‘advice’ or ‘request’. However, Srivastava went by his ‘suggestion/request’ and decided not to publish the book at that time (2009),” the source said.
Last year the publisher reminded Srivastava about the book, after which the first copy of the book was given to Advani last year.