Hours before the BJP’s core group met at the party’s Ashoka Road headquarters in Delhi on November 6, the RSS swung into action. A little after 2 pm, sarsanghchalak Mohanrao Bhagwat did what might amount to the exceptional. He picked up the phone to speak to senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh. The message to each was brief and clear: ‘Support Nitin Gadkari. You have no other option.’
That small matter done with, another phone call was made to the party president himself, detailing the Sangh’s strategy and spelling out the chief’s directives for Gadkari. Sources say Bhagwat has turned this fight into a personal crusade. A contention seemingly justified by his handling of veteran leader L.K. Advani, who reportedly made it understood that he would not attend the core group meeting unless he was given an assurance that Gadkari would not be given a second term as president. This message reached the Sangh, which saw it as another bid by Advani to seize power in the party. That led to Bhagwat calling the others, but leaving out Advani, who didn’t attend the core group meeting. Three days later, on his birthday, Advani was quoted as saying he did not have prime ministerial ambitions.
The RSS is making it clear that Gadkari will be allowed to finish his first term, although the question about a second term is still being debated. Says an RSS leader: “Gadkari will not just complete his term, but the option of him getting a second term is also quite open. The RSS will only want him to step down if clinching proof of corruption in his business deals comes up in the next one month.” “For now, the Sangh believes that Gadkari’s alleged business irregularities do not amount to corruption; he hasn’t used his political position to benefit his business ventures and he hasn’t siphoned off party funds.” A sign of how seriously the Sangh views this latest attack on their boy from Nagpur was evinced by chartered accountant and right-wing ideologue S. Gurumurthy, who has a mesmeric hold on the RSS leadership, giving Gadkari a clean chit.
The senior men in Nagpur also continue to view the present situation as a direct challenge to their authority. As a senior pracharak tells Outlook, “Call it what you want. Gadkari was our choice and any attack on him is an attack on the RSS. That is not allowed.” The RSS top leadership believes that there has been a sustained campaign by BJP leaders in Delhi to discredit the Sangh’s choice of party presidents. “An attempt has been made to prove that the Sangh’s political experiments in the past, both with making Rajnath Singh and Gadkari party presidents, have been failures. It is evident now that the BJP is an arm of the Sangh and they will have to listen to the RSS. After all, the rebellion in the party, which you saw, was both engineered and motivated.”
Maverick? MP Ram Jethmalani. (Photograph by Jitender Gupta)
Many in the BJP agree that certain lobbies within the party have much to gain by destabilising Gadkari’s position. Mahesh Jethmalani quitting the national executive in protest against Gadkari’s staying as party president would seem to vindicate that supposition. A senior BJP leader explained the incident thus, “The resignation and the threat of more to come happened only after RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi held a press conference in Chennai to support Gadkari. It had nothing to do with Gadkari’s faux pas on Swami Vivekananda.”
BJP insiders point to other subplots in the family drama. While the leadership issue is still unresolved, it is believed that Advani tried to step into the mix. As someone who has challenged the RSS in the past (and has refused to depart from the scene despite the many attempts and overtures sent his way), he first showed support for Gadkari—in essence, an attempt to mend bridges with the RSS, then when he saw an opportunity for himself, he sent out signals that he was now ready to take up the president’s role once again.
Then there is the problem of Narendra Modi foisting trouble through BJP MP Ram Jethmalani, who has an old association with the Gujarat CM. A party leader queried if father and son were Modi’s stalking horses in the party or simply mavericks acting of their own accord. “Many in the BJP are asking about the Jethmalanis who are open advocates of Modi,” asks a leader adding, “A majority of the second rung leaders in the BJP say that Modi is the only one who can get them anywhere close to power in 2014.” It is clear that the RSS is preparing for a time when it will also have to face off against Modi.
Everyone else has bit parts in the show. For instance, it is said Sushma Swaraj spoke out in Gadkari’s favour to earn goodwill from the RSS. “Sushmaji does not have an RSS background and that was seen as working against her,” says an insider. Besides which she is viewed as competition to Jaitley, who has a good working relationship with Modi, an abvp background and a valuable skill set as a lawyer who understands policy issues.
A curious situation has developed. Miffed over its Maharashtrian Brahmin candidate Gadkari landing in a soup, the Sangh is suspicious about the three leaders from the parivar. Modi, Advani and Jaitley are being viewed with suspicion since each is seen as having the potential to act independently. Such is life in the great saffron family.
By saying that party insiders are behind the allegations against Nitin Gadkari, the RSS is just trying to divert attention (Saffron Succotash!, Nov 19). Gadkari, like Robert Vadra, is no ordinary citizen. He is the president of a national party which time and again proclaims it’s against corruption of all kind. Also, anyone with even a little legal knowledge of company affairs would immediately sense the unusual procedure behind the investments made by unknown businessmen in Gadkari’s company, Purti Sugar and Power Ltd. Why then did the Sangh parivar have to rope in a financial brain to come to Gadkari’s rescue and clarify (or certify) that he had done nothing wrong? Why should we accept a certificate of fair dealings by S. Gurumurthy? It’s more than clear that the BJP and the RSS are trying their best to control the damage done by Arvind Kejriwal’s expose. At least they are trying to delay his resignation till the Gujarat polls are over. As they say, you can wake up someone who’s fast asleep, but not someone who is only pretending to sleep.
Narendra M. Apte, Pune
Not just Nitin Gadkari, Mohan Bhagwat too should resign. He is ruining the BJP’s chances of coming back to power. He should be replaced by someone who is selfless, devoid of a bloated ego and is foresighted like a Hedgewar or Deoras. This is not the RSS we know. It’s helping the Congress and Arvind Kejriwal.
Anirudh Prabhu, Mumbai
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.
If I may ask, what does the header of the writing, and the brief explanation want to convey? It seems, everyone mentioned, is not agreeable, and bad. I understand, what the basic idea wants to convey. Every person who is written on, might feel, that the heading does no justice to anyone, and also to the writer. I appreciate what people feel, and I would get the message, as I like, but is there something more, I need to know, from the heading? The header implies,that the reason for the endorsement of Mr. Gadkari is also clear, though it is not mentioned. When I make a statement, I don't endorse or otherwise, and certainly not, when I write on the net. How can we say, that the R. S. S. endorses, when I don't know if the R. S. S. might be making a statement?
Mr Gadkari, the BJP President is not the "ALL CONTROLLING PARTY PRESIDENT of BJP" as Ms Sonia Gandhi is as President of Congress, Ms Mayawathi is as President of BSP, Mr Mulayam Yadav is as President of SP, Mr Laloo Yadav is as President of RJD, Mr Karunanidhi is as President of DMK, Ms Jayalalitha is as President of AIDMK, Mr Badal is as President of AKALI DAL, Mr Farooq Abdullah is as President of NC, Ms Mufthi is as President of PDP, Mr Gowda is as President of JD(S), Mr Thakery is as President of SHIV SENA, Mr PAWAR is as Prsident of NCP, Mr Owaisi is as President of MIM etc to their respective political parties functioning as FAMILY BUSINESS. ----------------------------------- Hence fail to understand why RSS is making Mr GADKARI "indispesable" President of BJP, which he is not. Must be for "FAVOURS recieved" as both Mr Gadkari & RSS operate from Nagpur.
Its not Gadkari only, but Bhagwat also should resign. Mohan Bhagwat is ruining BJP's chances of coming to power. Its shocking. He should resign and some selfless, without bloated ego and foresighted person like Hegdewar or Deoras should take over. I am sure many staunch supporters of RSS and BJP like me may be feeling the same. This is not the RSS we know. Its helping Congress and Kejriwal. And hence against our mother country. And all this for 2 persons : Gadkari and Bhagwat. The cost : India and Indians will be further looted and pulverized for the next 5 years till 2019. Really we are a cursed country with no hope. Because when golden opportunity is presented on the platter by Almighty, some bolt from the blue - this time in the form of Bhagwat - dashes it. Recollect the short tenure destiny gave to potential saviours : Sardar Patel and LB Shastry. Now Advani has nothing to lose. He and Modi should come together and mount all out assault on Bhagwat.
(1) By saying that party insiders are behind allegations made against Mr. Nitin Gadkari, RSS is just diverting attention of citizens to seriousness of allegations. Mr. Gadkari, like Mr. Robert Vadra, is no ordinary citizen. He is the president of a national party which proclaims time and again that it is opposed to all kinds of corruption. (2) Any person who is even a little familiar with legal provisions about company affairs and income tax would immediately realize the unusual procedure behind investments made by unknown businessmen in Mr. Nitin Gadkari’s company, Purti Sugar and Power Ltd. But it is not surprising that some one in the Sangh pariwar with a financial brain had to be roped in to come to rescue of Mr. Gadkari’s and clarify (or certify) that Gadkari has done nothing wrong. Assuming for a moment that Mr. Gadkari’s business dealings are very clean, why should citizens at large accept a certificate of fair dealings given by Mr. S Gurumurthy? (3) It is abundantly clear that BJP and RSS are trying their best to contain the damage already done by exposure of murky business dealings of Mr. Gadkari. At least the effort is to delay the resignation of Mr. Gadkari till Gujarat assembly polls are over. (3) There is a saying that you can wake up some one who is fast asleep but no one wake up an individual who is just pretending to be asleep. This is exactly happening in case of the Sangh pariwar and BJP.
Between RSS and BJP there is no difference as it is with all its sister organizations.If RSS is culpable then do are the BJP and all its affiliates
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