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A Tribune Exclusive
Advani must go by October
RSS makes its stand clear
Swati Chaturvedi

New Delhi, July 31
The Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh (RSS) has categorically told BJP President L.K. Advani that he must resign from the party’s top post by October when an all-important meeting of the RSS is to take place.

Contrary to managed popular perception created by his acolytes, Mr Advani has merely gained time and stave off the inevitable.

Once Mr Advani quits the party presidentship his position as Leader of the Opposition in Parliament will also become untenable.

The RSS is not remotely reconciled to Mr Advani’s continuance and views his ideological “lapses as repugnant”, according to a senior RSS leader.

Sources say that even the current reprive was won after he pleaded that “it was unfair that he should be publicly humiliated and should be allowed an honourable exit’’.

The RSS’s animus towards Mr Advani has its genesis in the abduction of some RSS men in Tripura during the tenure of the NDA government. While, the RSS top brass repeatedly tried to get the Ministry of Home Affairs to take action, the RSS cadre was taken across to Bangladesh and killed.

Following this incident another flash point came when Ayodhya was sealed off and Advani, always considered a Sangh hardliner, suddenly started saying that ideology was vacuous and had no place in politics. His remarks that the ``five star culture’’ which the RSS believed plagued the BJP was a sign of efficiency also did not go down well with the RSS.

Mr Advani’s patronage of the “rootless Rajya Sabha types,” who represent no threat to him, was also a sore point. When he took over during this tenure as party president after the RSS issued an ultimatum to replace Mr M. Venkiah Naidu, the RSS asked him to rein in the ambitious sniping second generation leaders such as Mr Pramod Mahajan, Mr Arun Jaitely and Mrs Sushma Swaraj.

When this did not happen and the BJP continued to wash its dirty linen in public the RSS was hurt. Describing the events at the national executive a senior BJP leader reveals: “Mr Arun Jaitely said that Mr Venkiah Naidu has made his wife’s menopause a national issue to which a leader opposed to Advani retorted they have managed to create a mental menopause for the BJP’’. This level of sniping was intolerable for the RSS.

Mr Advani’s Jinnah remarks and his patronage of people such as Sudheendra Kulkarni with this thesis of a BJP apology for the Gujarat killing of Muslims was the last straw.

But, reveals a senior RSS leader “ Mr Advani revealed his true colours while he was in government. He did not listen to us on a single article of faith and now expects us to believe him. He has shown that he has no scruples and wants to cling on to power at any cost.’’

While, the RSS is chary of revealing who it will like to see installed as party president they are clear that no more deviation in ideology in word and deed will be tolerated.

—  The correspondent, who is an anchor of SAB TV, regularly writes
for The Tribune.


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