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Explainer: Are BJP, RSS divided over appointment of next party president

Some attribute low voting in first 5 phases to an 'unhappy' Sangh that's feeling 'sidelined' under Modi govt

Explainer: Are BJP, RSS divided over appointment of next party president

Is all well between the BJP and ideological fountainhead RSS.



Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh, May 21

It all started with BJP president JP Nadda's statement to an English daily that broadly meant that his party had "grown from the time it needed the RSS and was now 'saksham' (capable) to run its own affairs".

According to Nadda, BJP's parent body Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was an “ideological front and does its own work".

Not the first time

This is not the first time the buzz about strained relationship between the BJP and its ideological fountainhead RSS is being discussed. It has happened in the past as well, including during the tenure of late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Sangh leaders, for their part, have always maintained that the RSS is not a political party but a socio-cultural organisation involved in nation-building. They claim the RSS does not take part in elections nor its office-bearers are supposed to become office-bearers of any political party. They also say that it is a social-cultural organisation and can support any political party willing to work for nation-building.

Speculations rife on divide

However, speculations have once again revived over strained relationship between the BJP and the Sangh. Though leaders from both sides go to great lengths to deny it, the genesis of these speculations or buzz is also the low voter turnout in the first five phases and, as some insiders point, differences over the appointment of the next president of the BJP.

Tussle over next BJP president?

Earlier this year, the BJP amended its constitution allowing its Central Parliamentary Board to take a decision related to its president and Nadda’s tenure as party president was extended till June 2024.

Though the Sangh strategy is to not publicly state anything that can remotely be construed as political or interfering in the BJP affairs, sources say it is not in agreement with the party's idea of former Haryana CM ML Khattar as the new president

Apparently, the Sangh seems to be pushing for Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, the Nagpur MP who in the past is credited with "doing a lot for the party during his tenure as the BJP chief". Gadkari served as the BJP president from 2009 to 2013.

False propaganda, claim leaders

BJP leaders dismiss the ongoing controversy as a 'shararat' (mischief) to create trouble in the middle of the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha elections. They insist that the RSS and the BJP are completely in sync with each other and that there is nothing to worry about.

"The BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have only been implementing Sangh's core agenda, so where is the problem," they question.

Several questions unanswered

Can Nadda say something so controversial or that may be construed so without the blessings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi? According to some reports, PM Modi was looking for the right time to say what Nadda did. In his 10 years as the PM, there have been a very few examples that show PM Modi consulting sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat on issues. Though Bhagwat was present at the 'pran pratishtha' ceremony of Ram Temple in Ayodhya earlier this year, that's about all one saw of the closeness between the two. Some also claim that PM Modi has been keeping away RSS emissaries and the BJP "wooing" Sangh cadres with plum positions within the government and party set-up, things that have not gone down well with those "left out". According to Sangh leaders, noone is above the organisation, including the sarsanghchalak.

Making amends

It seems that "lack of enthusiasm of its cadres" in these elections couldn't have been more evident as in the first five phases. Sources also say that the BJP leadership is trying to make amends so that the situation improves in the last two phases. "The bottom line is if the BJP and PM Modi win their third consecutive term, the RSS may find itself becoming more irrelevant. But if it does not happen the way PM Modi has planned, then it will be an altogether new ball game," say observers.

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#BJP #JP Nadda #RSS


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