Sangh Samachar

BJP chief admits to RSS running the BJP

Posted in Bharatiya Janata Party, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh by ravi on July 31, 2007

Why is this newsworthy? Because the Sangh is admitting the truth! Here’s an excerpt from the Outlook interview.

Question: On January 29 this year, you had removed Modi from the BJP’s highest decision-making body—the parliamentary board. At the same time Arun Jaitley was removed as chief spokesperson of the BJP. Did you act under RSS pressure or advice?

Rajnath: The media made too much of it. These were routine changes. Okay, the RSS was consulted. In Modi’s case it was 70 per cent RSS and 30 per cent my decision. In Jaitley’s case the responsibility was 50:50.

As pointed out by the Times of India,

The statement undercuts the denials by both BJP and RSS about the latter’s involvement in the party’s decision making. While organically linked, BJP has preferred to keep up the pretence of autonomy vis-a-vis Sangh, while Sangh itself professes disinterest in the affairs of the party.

Here’ s the rest of the TOI report (all emphases mine):

The Sangh leadership was, naturally, not amused by the statement which can be a weapon in critics’ hands. Approached by TOI, RSS leader Ram Madhav said, “He has to clarify what he means by 70% and 30%. Decisions are taken by the party. You can consult anyone including the RSS, that’s a normal practice, but on what basis do you say that the decisions were taken by the Sangh… of course there is a possibility that he (Singh) may have been misquoted.”

The controversial statement comes in the aftermath of the perception about RSS getting increasingly involved in the routine affairs of BJP under the current leadership. Singh took over the party’s reins from L K Advani who was asked to step down by Sangh leadership because of his controversial remarks on Jinnah.

Advani had made his displeasure known by complaining about Sangh’s bid to micro-manage party affairs. While his protest did not evoke much support, the perception about Sangh’s interference has led to heartburn.

While no one has gone public, it is only because of the reverence for senior Sangh leaders. Murmurs against RSS functionaries who have been imposing their choices have been on the rise. Their role has been called into question also with regard to the recent UP polls. Party circles lament that while they have got the flak, Sangh functionaries who interfered at every stage have gone unscathed.

If the RSS is not happy about an open acknowledgment of its relationship with the BJP, Rajnath’s statement has got to be retracted, right? This is exactly what the BJP has done. Here is its letter to Outlook, reproduced in full:

Dear Shri Mehta,

The Bharatiya Janata Party and its National President are deeply distressed over the cavalier manner in which your magazine Outlook (dated 06 August 2007) has published the interview of Shri Rajnath Singh ji. The interview contains certain statements which he never made, his observations have been deliberately distorted and quoted out of context and there is a palpable attempt to maliciously convey a negative image.

It is evident that there appears to be a motive behind this distortion and the fact that the interview of Shri Rajnath Singh ji was given in Hindi and has been published in English; has been conveniently manipulated and distorted to suit this purpose. In particular, I would like to emphasize that Shri Rajnath Singh ji never made the uncharitable comments or statistical reference in the decision making process against his party colleagues and the two senior leaders of the party Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Shri L K Advani. Many of the observations about the RSS were either not made by Shri Rajnath Singh ji or have been quoted out of context.

The party would like to place on record its contradiction and condemnation of the objectionable manner in which your publication has gone ahead and distorted the interview.

Yours truly

(Ravi Shankar Prasad)
Spokesperson

I can only hope Outlook recorded the interview, and can call the BJP’s bluff! If your appetite hasn’t been whetted yet, here’s another juicy excerpt from the Outlook interview (all emphases mine).

Question: Your critics say that some RSS leaders have begun to have second thoughts about your leadership and that you will be nothing without the RSS…

Rajnath: The media is really trying to create a story. The RSS is united and does not have factions. I am loyal to the RSS and it backs me completely. I have worked for the Sangh from my early youth. I have propagated their ideology from the beginning. Yes, you are right I would be nothing without the RSS.



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