Contrary to what its chief Mohan Bhagwat has been claiming, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is in full control of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The way the RSS has leaned on the BJP leaders to select the next president amply proves the point I am making.
With the crisis in the BJP over leadership change seems to be coming to an end, as promised in the previous posts, we bring you some more exclusive details of the raging behind-the-scenes battle over the leadership issue in the ‘party with a difference’.
Canary Trap spoke to various informed sources in the BJP and tried to create a chronology of the existential crisis that it faces.
After the leadership crisis erupted, RSS made a five-member team to select a new leader for the party. The task for the team was challenging as even they realised that the party was ridden with factionalism and ego-clashes among the senior leaders.
The team met senior BJP leader L K Advani and highlighted the need for change in the party leadership. Advani agreed and was asked to suggest names of people who should lead the party. The RSS team was not too happy with the names of Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, which Advani suggested. The Sangh wanted somebody who was outside the sphere of Advani’s influence and who could lead the party on his own. They asked for more names. Advani then suggested the name of senior Maharashtra BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.
There is a positive feeling for Gadkari in the party as many believe he has good organisational skills. Besides, his ability to bring in huge amount of funds for the party has also not gone unnoticed. Infact, sources say that had late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan brought Gadkari forward in Maharashtra instead of his relative Gopinath Munde, the latter would have excelled in the party (sadly every political party in India suffers from the dynasty bug and BJP is no different). RSS agreed to consider Gadkari’s name.
But Advani realised that RSS’s hold over the party will be complete if Gadkari became the president. Incidentally, Gadkari is from Nagpur, where the Sangh Parivar has its headquarters. Advani then suggested that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s name be also considered as party president. RSS agreed to his suggestion. But Modi called up Bhagwat and expressed his inability to lead the party. He is believed to have conveyed to the RSS chief that he wants to work in Gujarat. Modi’s decision to let go the party presidentship was not something that Advani had expected.
After Modi’s refusal, RSS decided to go ahead with its decision to give the reins of BJP in the hands of Nitin Gadkari. The RSS then stopped consulting Advani on the issue.
News reports have suggested that Rajnath Singh will make way for the new president on December 19. Although the new president will be elected by the party, the decision has already been made. Nitin Gadkari has been “selected” by the RSS to lead the party and rejuvenate it.
BJP sources say the appointment of the new team will be a new beginning for the BJP. The BJP team of 1968 is finished, now there will be an entirely new team with a new president from outside the capital.
The RSS control of the party is complete and party sources feel that the current RSS chief is working towards rebuilding the party and nobody wants to oppose him.