He also revealed that on the 28th of February 2002, George Fernandes, who was then Defence minister, visited a police kiosk in Ahmedabad where he heard on the police wireless “voices of some BJP MLAs directing the violence, telling the police not to do anything”.
Sitapati told Karan Thapar that he had found this out from an unimpeachable source but there was absolutely no way that he can reveal the person’s name. He added he had no doubt this was the truth.
Speaking about the Vajpayee-Advani relationship, Sitapati maintained that for most of his life Advani was in awe of Vajpayee. Even when he was home minister and deputy prime minister, Advani was not as important and powerful as some people have assumed. “Vajpayee was boss”, said Sitapati. “He wanted Advani to handle the party. He didn’t think Minister Advani amounted to much”.
Of Vajpayee, Sitapati said that there are several instances when he failed to stand up for his principles. Two telling examples are his attitude over the demolition of the Babri Masjid and his insistence that Narendra Modi should resign as chief minister in 2002. Sitapati said whenever Vajpayee realised he was in danger of annoying or offending his party he would do a somersault.
As he put it: “Vajpayee’s first ‘liberal’ reaction would be followed by the realization that he risked being cast aside by his party. He would then leap to his party’s defence, a leap not of faith but of moral acrobatics”.