LK Advani is an extremist. By this I mean he has little sense of proportion. His words occupy the extreme end of language, what is called hyperbole. It is unwise for Indians, reporters especially, to accept what Advani says because he uses the same apocalyptic formulation for everything. Let his own words demonstrate this.


29 December 2008 (speech to mark the Prem Kumar Dhumal government anniversary): “2008 has ushered in one of the worst economic recessions in recent times".

8 February 2009 (speech at the BJP national executive meet): “India has been facing one of the worst economic crises".

Actually, India would grow quite robustly that year. But having decided the economy was sunk, Advani worked out precisely who was most affected by his recession.

25 August 2008 (IANS): “Common people are the worst sufferers".

3 November 2008 (The Times of India): “Farmers are the worst sufferers".

7 February 2009 (the BJP national council meeting): “Small investors are the worst sufferers".

3 March 2008 (speech in the Lok Sabha): “Women are the worst affected".

Lashing out: Advani’s language lacks the measured tone that sets a leader apart. PTI

24 November 2008 (a press conference in Indore): “Worst victims are the poor".

22 September 2008 (a speech at the Vijay Sankalp Yatra, Jharkhand): “Worst neglected are the Adivasis".

22 January 2009 (a chat on “Aam aadmi experienced the worst kind of price rise in his life".


Advani likes to weigh in strongly on terrorism, his favourite subject. That is fine. But he also feels the urge to both use his extreme vocabulary and assign an order of importance to the attacks. This has created problems in the hierarchy.

3 October 2008 ( “India is the worst victim of terrorism in the world".

12 September 2010 ( “9/11 was the worst ever terrorist attack in human history".

29 December 2008 ( “2008 was the worst year in terms of terrorist violence."

19 May 2003 (The Economic Times): “Suicide bomber has become the worst ever device".

19 December 2001 (Frontline): “The attack on Parliament is undoubtedly the most audacious, and also the most alarming, act of terrorism in the history of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in India".

15 July 2006 (PTI): “Mumbai train blast is the worst-ever terror strike that hit India".

27 November 2008 (The Economic Times): “26/11 is the most ferocious terrorist attack in India since independence".

6 April 2009 ( “26/11 terror attack was worse than 1993 bomb blasts".

Also Read | Aakar’s previous Lounge columns

9 July 2005 (The Indian Express): “The Ayodhya temple attack is the most serious attack in the country after the Parliament attack".

17 March 2004 ( “The Akshardham temple attack was worse than Gujarat disturbances".


One set piece Advani is comfortable with is describing something as being the worst since independence. Since he is old enough (born 1927), he may possibly be qualified to know.

30 December 2007 (UNI): “Agriculture is facing the worst crisis since independence".

27 January 2010 ( “Rise in prices is the worst since independence".

27 April 2009 (PTI): “Corruption by UPA is the worst since independence".


Which is India’s worst scandal? Let Advani tell you.

21 November 2008 (IANS): “Cash for votes scam is the worst scandal in the history of independent India".

18 October 2010 (The Pioneer): “Spectrum scam is the biggest scandal since independence".

19 March 2011 (The Hindu): “WikiLeaks was the biggest scandal in independent India".


7 March 2009 (The Indian Express): “UPA government is the worst people have had".

30 October 2007 (IANS): “UPA is the worst example of a coalition."

30 September 2008 (a speech at the Vijay Sankalp Yatra, Washim, Maharashtra): “Amarnath pilgrim issue was one of the worst failures of the UPA government".

17 January 2011 (The Financial Express): “The government is going through its worst crisis".

17 March 2009 (NDTV): “Manmohan Singh is the weakest prime minister of India".

28 September 2008 (The Economic Times): “Manmohan Singh is the most incompetent prime minister of India".

21 April 2011 (Sakaal Times): “The country’s condition has reached its worst under Manmohan Singh".


25 November 2005 (The Times of India): “Retired judges are the worst kind of arbitrators".

11 December 2006 (The Financial Express): “Sachar Committee findings are the worst kind of vote bank politics".

12 January 2009 (speech on National Youth Day): “Colonialism of the mind is always the worst form of colonialism".

7 August 2009 (speech at the release of his autobiography): “The joint statement contains two of the worst blunders in India’s diplomatic history".

6 April 2006 (a speech during the Bharat Suraksha Yatra, Rajkot): “Naxalites are the worst enemies of the poor".

My Country My Life (his autobiography, Page 3): Partition was “the worst of all tragedies".

Leaders should be measured (Barack Obama and Manmohan Singh are fine examples). Their opinion must be calibrated, because they bring perspective. Like a teenage girl, however, Advani scatters “worst", “most" and “biggest" with little restraint. To be fair to Advani, many middle-class Indians talk in this manner. Things are best or worst. But there is a difference between our uncle and his drawing-room certitude about everything and a politician wielding power. In speaking like this, Advani’s purpose is not leadership. In the language of our newspapers, this is “lashing out".

21 February 2004 (The Indian Express): “Congress would deliver its worst-ever performance and win less than 100 seats".

He said this before the election, and he was wrong, of course. Might Advani have made our worst prime minister?

Aakar Patel is a director with Hill Road Media.

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