Thiruvananthapuram: Nearly seven years after courting a controversy by praising Mohammed Ali Jinnah, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani on Sunday said it was a prominent Swami of the Ramakrishna Mission, who had drawn his attention to the Pakistan founder's desire for a secular state.
Going down the memory lane, Advani said it was during a meeting in Kolkata that Swami Ranganathananda drew his attention to Jinnah's speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan that its citizens should refrain from religious discriminations.
It was after this meeting (with Ranganathananda) during a visit to Pakistan in 2005 that he availed a copy of Jinnah's address and mentioned about it while making a speech in the neighbouring country, he said.
Advani's controversial comments had raised the hackles of the Sangh Parivar, including its fountainhead RSS, which lost no time in forcing his exit as the BJP president.
This is not the first time that Advani has spoken about the meeting with Ranganathananda. In one of his blog posts earlier, he had mentioned in detail about his association with the late Swamiji since his days in Karachi before partition.
The BJP stalwart was on Sunday speaking at a public reception held in Thiruvananthapuram to felicitate party leader and former Union minister O Rajagopal to mark the golden jubilee of his public life.
Advani said he had first met Swami Ranganathananda during his school days in Karachi when he used to visit the Ramakrishna Mission there to listen to the Gita classes. Ranganathananda later became President of the Ramakrishna Mission and it was during that time that he met him again at the Mission headquarters at Kolkata, Advani added.