Now that Rajnath Singh is set to become BJP president, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s Delhi plans may face a new obstacle. An outward show of geniality is likely, but the Rajnath-Modi relationship has a history of rancour. Rajnath, as party chief in 2006-09, had thrown Modi out of the BJP’s parliamentary board. By now the RSS ambivalence on Modi is strong—and Rajnath is a Sangh choice. So Modi may not necessarily find an eager cheerleader in him.
The real inhibiting factor, of course, will be the RSS, which believes it was pushed to a corner during the party president’s election. It was forced to select by elimination. Now, RSS stalwarts are likely to vet and veto appointments to all BJP positions. “In recent times, we have taken a different approach: we don’t tell the BJP what needs to be done, we tell them what should not be done,” says a senior Sangh functionary. So even if a reluctant consensus emerges in the party about Modi as prime ministerial candidate, the Sangh could try to scuttle it. Rajnath, as party chief, will be the one talking to the allies—and can cite their opposition. A strong scenario is that Modi could be offered the ambiguous post of election committee chief, with the decision on his entering the prime ministerial race reserved till after the elections. Modi is unlikely to accept this and could stay out. Besides, Rajnath himself can be a prime ministerial candidate—as can be a few others.
In Mumbai, senior party leader L.K. Advani told RSS deputy chief Bhaiyyaji Joshi that the presidential election the next day would not be smooth, with Yashwant Sinha threatening to contest. Bhaiyyaji struck down Sinha’s name, saying he was a “rank outsider”; Rajnath’s name was proposed as the consensus replacement for Gadkari. Support for Rajnath came not just from Soni, but also senior leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj and Ananth Kumar. Sources also say that Modi and Jaitley had earlier put their weight behind Naidu, known to be close to both of them.
What played out in Delhi was more the outcome of internal politics in the Sangh than infighting in the BJP. The Sangh has had its way, but some senior leaders are quite unhappy over the “manner in which Rajnath has been made president” and say it has dented the Sangh’s image.
As things spiralled out of control on January 22, sources confirm that Bhaiyyaji told Gadkari to propose Rajnath’s name for presidency. Sangh sources also confirm that Soni had had his way, settling scores not just within the Sangh but also with Gadkari. For he was reportedly miffed with the Sangh for curtailing his role in coordinating between the BJP and Nagpur. Of late the Sangh had entrusted to Bhaiyyaji a lot of Soni’s work. Soni also held a grudge against Gadkari after the unceremonious removal of his aide, Prabhat Jha, as the chief of the Madhya Pradesh unit of the BJP.
Senior BJP leaders confirm the infighting will only worsen after Rajnath’s takeover, given the meagre support he has within his own party. Singh’s only actual support comes from Sushma Swaraj; others are known to be opposed to him. As a senior party leader put it, “The slugfest has just begun.”
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Allegedly his overweening ambition did him in. Whoever allegedly tripped him had ample alleged covert support from ruling UPA : )
Kinda strange Sangh wanted to get there own man Friday to head BJP and failed ....
End of the day Delhi always seem out of reach ........for the boys from Nagpur....
INC would be celebrating with an incompetent cretin at the helm of affairs of the largest opposition party. It does not mean that Gadkari was even close to being efficient or respectable but Rajnath singh is a failed politician. As the infighting brews in BJP, lets just hope that it implodes and fades away. Like all kinds of fascism blooms for sometime but it will eventually implode owing to its inherent foolishness.
(1) If one sentence is to be used to describe the exit of Shri Nitin Gadkari, it would be that Shri Gadkari deserved this unceremonious exit. (2) Despite all brave talk of friends of Shri Gadkari and RSS bosses, it was clear that if he had been reelected, the problems of BJP would have quadrupled. Good sense prevailed for whatever reason and the top brass of BJP decided to advise Shri Gadkari to resign. BJP has seriously erred by shielding Shri Gadkari in the matter of his investments in Purti Sugars Ltd. and other shell companies. BJP would still have to pay a heavy price for protecting its past President in coming weeks when more disclosures are made by the IT department. (3) As regards the relations between BJP and RSS, it is becoming increasingly difficult for RSS bosses to always effectively use their remote control because there are many State leaders in BJP who do not owe their present position to their links with RSS. In fact some of them have none. It would be in the interest of both BJP and RSS to give full freedom to the former to independently decide its future in coming years.
Why are Outlook "journos" whining now that Gadkari has left? Not too long ago, they were complaining that Gadkari was still President despite being embroiled in the Purti group scam. Now that he's been booted out, what's their problem?
Case of damned if you do, damned if you don't?
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