M A I N   N E W S

A Tribune Exclusive
RSS, BJP block Uma’s return to MP chief ministership
Swati Chaturvedi

New Delhi, November 23
Whatever the former Chief Minister, Ms Uma Bharti, may be doing, she will not get her old job back. Well-placed sources told The Tribune, that the present Chief Minister, Mr Babulal Gaur, will soon be removed and, in all likelihood, replaced by Mr Shiv Raj Singh Chauhan, who seems to have got the nod of the RSS.

Mr Chauhan is described as a “no-nonsense” politician who will be expected to take on the sanyasin-turned politician.

Ms Bharti’s recent public utterances have ensured that the RSS, which is in no mood to brook any dissent or indiscipline, has firmly ruled her out. Fresh from its resounding victory in Bihar as a partner of the Janata Dal (United), the BJP is also determined to end her blackmail of the party leadership.

In the sweepstakes of the BJP presidentship, the RSS is also playing a decisive role. In a quiet move, the Nagpur-based organisation has ensured that the current president, Mr L.K. Advani, invites his bete noire Dr Murli Manohar Joshi to all party meetings.

Earlier, in a bid to isolate Dr Joshi, Mr Advani had ensured that he was wholly kept out of all decision-making processes in the party. Most of the time, party meetings included only Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the two vice-presidents and the general secretaries.

Last month, the RSS intervened and asked for the “inclusion” of all the top leaders. Asks a senior RSS leader: “What is the harm if there is collective decision-making? We have said that the old party structure with a president will continue, but everyone will have to be included. These stories are being planted by those who feel threatened and feel their role will be minimised”.

In recent days the RSS leadership has also made it clear to the BJP that it will not propose the new president’s name but will consult with the party on the list given to it.

Mr Advani is learnt to be pushing for his old favourite, Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu, with the argument that he did not have uninterrupted term. His second choice is the former External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh. However, both are unlikely to find favour with the RSS.

Says an RSS leader sarcastically: “The gains of Bihar will be lost if we accept either of the two Advani ciphers. Naidu is addicted to the media and used to have three press conferences a day while the only thing in Mr Jaswant Singh’s favour is that he is not perceived as a threat by the Young Turks. This is hardly a prescription to revive the BJP”.

Analysts say that a thwarted Advani may then propose Mr Arun Jaitley’s name who, fresh from his Bihar triumph, can emerge as a “young compromise candidate”. Mr Jaitley is already being hailed as a “lucky mascot” by some of Mr Advani supporters.

While the RSS is in favour of Dr Joshi becoming party president, it wants the party itself to propose his name. This is proving to be a Herculean task as Mr Advani is adamantly opposed to Dr Joshi.

The person who can exercise a casting vote in his favour is Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee but he seems to be playing his sphinx-like role. Says the RSS leader: “We know that he is ideologically sound but the party has to come up with his name. Endorsements by the likes of VHP do not help”.

Some of the warring second-generation leaders want to promote Mr Rajnath Singh but the RSS is wary of his closeness to a big Uttar Pradesh industrial house and his unimpressive performance as UP Chief Minister. As for Mr Bal Apte, RSS leaders laugh and say, “Those who do not stand a chance will clearly support these kinds of non-starters. He is not a serious contender”.

— The writer is an anchor with Janmat TV who writes regularly for The Tribune


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |