When BJP chief Nitin Gadkari arrived in Mumbai on October 31, the rousing welcome he got from 800-odd partymen gathered there was of a plan, evincing the fact that the RSS had reaffirmed its faith in their man despite the taint. Behind the overt show is a tale of suspicion, intrigue and loyalty that seems to have conferred immunity on Gadkari during bad days.
Just a day before that, Gadkari had cancelled his scheduled trip to Delhi. He released a letter saying that party leaders Arun Jaitley and Dharmendra Pradhan would handle B.S. Yediyurappa’s renewed threat to break away from the saffron party. That done, Gadkari headed for Mumbai, reassured that the RSS is determined to throw its weight behind him. Gadkari’s aggressive defence of himself and challenge to Robert Vadra to face a probe on graft came as the Sangh was getting ready for a spell of confabulations in Chennai from November 2. The three-day all-India executive council in Tamil Nadu is the second biggest annual gathering of Sangh pracharaks attended by all state representatives and the organisation’s top brass.
It is at this meet that the Sangh is likely to reiterate its support to Gadkari to all its pracharaks, as the issue comes up for discussion. A senior pracharak confirms, “Over the past few weeks, the Sangh has made it clear that they stand by Gadkari. That decision is not going to change now. After all, Gadkari is the representative of the RSS in the BJP. Two years back, it was the Sangh that decided to make Gadkari the president of the BJP. Any attack on Gadkari is seen by the RSS as an attack on their own man and therefore an attack on the Sangh itself. The RSS will not accept it.”
Gadkari backers Bhagwat and Bhaiyyaji. (Photograph by Tribhuvan Tiwari)
Despite the furore over Gadkari’s dubious business deals, sources confirm that what’s working in the BJP president’s favour is the unflinching support from sarsanghchalak Mohanrao Bhagwat and Bhaiyyaji Joshi. Suresh Soni, who handles the BJP directly, is a fence-sitter. The reason they say is simple: Gadkari is RSS cadre, a Maratha leader who has risen to the post of party president and who, like Bhagwat and Bhaiyyaji Joshi, is a Maharashtrian Brahmin. That’s enough reason for the RSS high command to support Gadkari. Which is perhaps why those at the top are now choosing to describe the charges against Gadkari as “more impropriety and business mismanagement than real corruption”.
In the BJP, not all see Gadkari as damaged goods. There are some who worry about the taint damaging the party in national politics. Yet there is also faction politics being played on this issue. Says a senior leader in the BJP, “The timing is suspect. Look at when this entire revelation has been made. December is when Gadkari completes his term as BJP president. While the party constitution has been tweaked to provide a second term to an incumbent president, Gadkari has still not been named the next president. This scandal brings many aspirants for the president’s post back in business.” Says another sources, “It’s an open field. The aspirations of senior leaders like Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Narendra Modi and L.K. Advani are well known. Any discrediting of Nitin Gadkari helps those leaders looking to lead the BJP in 2014 to firm up their claim to the top job, two years from now.”
The real panic in the Sangh and BJP is driven by the Narendra Modi factor. By December-end, his state elections would be over and he would be pushing for a greater national role. He has crushed the RSS in Gujarat and the Sangh certainly does not want him to stamp over them and other leaders in the BJP. It has got too used to backseat driving. It is fundamentally a collegium of old boys who look out for each other and do not want anyone to get too big for their boots.
The ringmasters, the RSS, have lost considerable face in this sordid Gadkari drama (An Insurance Policy, Nov 12). There is still time before the next election. Save face, get someone like Gen Khanduri in his place, even L.K. Advani will do. If you can’t overcome greed, you can’t prevail over the Gandhis in this country
R.K. Singh, Gurgaon
After Gadkari and BSY, we can now confirm that there is no difference between the Congress and the BJP. And it looks like again the BJP and the RSS have no intent to retrieve the situation. Over to the Third Front.
A.K. Ghai, Mumbai
It’s this Nagpur coterie that’s working to protect Gadkari.
Pramod Srivastava, Delhi
Ever since the RSS forced Advani to resign as party president over the Jinnah controversy, no BJP leader has been able to hold up the party’s end in its complex equation with the RSS.
Meghana A., Newcastle, UK
The only thing different about the ‘party with a difference’ is that the BJP’s corruption is carried out in a more professional manner, leaving fewer stink trails.
Aires Rodrigues, Goa
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.
Does the Congress consider, that the R. S. S. is perhaps not a registered political party, or organisation? What should people understand, if this is the case, and if the Congress does see the organisation as political? The Congress is saying that the R. S. S. is a political organisation, perhaps. Is a political party different from a political organisation? How so, and if so, in relevance to what idea, or any thought? The Congress can stand for election, perhaps, the R. S. S. cannot, in the light that it is not political, like the Congress is. The candidate stands for election as an individual, and any citizen can, but the Congress stands as a party, for election. The R. S. S. cannot do that, at present, perhaps. I never want to stand for election, but this idea is interesting. How can the N. D. A. say the R. S. S. is political?
Nitin Gadkari will be the proverbial nemesis of BJP in the forthcoming electoral politics .But the ' Ring master' RSS is bound lose a considerable ground and face in this sordid drama.. If you can't overcome greed, you can't prevail over the Gandhis in this country , even of the dubious variety . There is still time before the next election. Get someone like Khanduri in his place,even Advani will do.Or else the fight between Congress and BJP will be like the one between two jaded and breathless Sumo fighters.
Interestingly if the Inquiry goes deeper in Gadhkari's case then it will also tumble out that Congress and Sharad Pawar's NCP stalwarts in Mharashtra favoured Gadkari in sanctioning Projects and allotment of Funds .
Both Congress and NCP are no fools to press for Inquiry .
Hence RULE of Omerta is applicable !!
Now the Third Front will have better chance .They can now say with confidence that there is no difference between Congress and BJP .Both are corrupt .
But if Gadkari resigns immediately and calls for an immediate Inquiry then the tables will be turned
upon Congress to offer themselves for Inquiries under the supervision of the superior Courts.Congress is hardly in a position to offer self for Inquiries .
Let us see if BJP and RSS have some IQ to retrieve the set back and en cash the situation ?? Since I doubt that is why I say Third Front has better chances !
In next 15 minutes BJP Top Brass will meet to decide on Gadkari .
I think decision will be they will support Gadkari ( to please RSS ) with caveat that in next Prez Election due December 2012 Gadkri will not seek second term .
But even with above decision BJP will still be on back foot when attacking Congress and Vadera ectc for scams.But still have some chance to defeat of Congress .
Anything less than above BJP is doomed for another 5 yrs.
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