I-T raid took moral stuffing out of RSS, saved BJP

Advani asserted the Nagpur man’s re-election would compromise party’s campaign against graft

ajay

Ajay Singh | January 23, 2013


Nitin Gadkari
Nitin Gadkari

The run-up to the election of the BJP president over the past six months had all the elements of a thriller. Nitin Gadkari’s re-election for the second term was considered a foregone conclusion; facilitated by his most powerful mentors in the RSS who seem hell-bent on micro-managing the BJP affairs. The front-ranking leadership of the party showed its characteristic timidity and almost surrendered before the RSS.

As the script seemed almost finalised and the stage was being set for Gadkari’s re-election on Tuesday, the RSS appeared to have forgotten the old adage that a day is long time in politics. By the evening, Gadkari was edged out and Rajnath Singh emerged as the consensus candidate for the party’s top post. On Wednesday, he was finally elected unopposed for the second time within three years.

What exactly transpired in those crucial 12 hours that sealed Gadkari’s fate? Those aware of the BJP politics knew it too well that Gadkari’s imposition as the party president was guided by a singular impulse of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat: to establish his hegemony over the party. Despite the fact that Gadkari’s unacceptability as the party head among the cadre was quite known, the RSS’s stubbornness to persist with its choice rankled a large section of the leadership.

This feeling of angst and uneasiness among the cadre was assessed silently by the party veteran LK Advani who gave an unambiguous message to the RSS that Gadkari’s continuation was simply untenable. Insiders say that Advani was quite categorical in his assertion that Gadkari’s continuation as the BJP chief would severely compromise the party’s position and blunt its campaign against corruption. Initially, the RSS tried to brush aside Advani’s objections as the old man’s ranting against it and Gadkari who grounded the veteran leader’s fascination to see himself as future prime minister.

Given Advani’s long experience in politics and his skills as a hard bargainer, the RSS soon realised that its underestimation of Advani’s strength was a mistake. This realisation became all the more evident when the income tax department conducted raids on Gadkari’s premises and stories about the mysterious death of a young girl in his car about three years ago in Nagpur started circulating in the media. For the first time, the RSS realised its position on morality and ethics vis-a-vis Advani and the BJP leadership was dubious. Insiders admit that after the I-T raids at Gadkari’s premises as well as Yashwant Sinha and Mahesh Jethmalani’s attempt to file nominations against Gadkari, Mohan Bhagwat realised for the first time his vulnerability in running the BJP affairs. Bhagwat blinked and gave up his insistence on Gadkari.

There are all indications that Rajnath Singh’s unanimous election was not without hiccups. Singh in his earlier stint as the BJP chief (2006-10) was seen as the RSS’s poster boy running against Advani and those perceived to be close to him. He was instrumental in removing Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi from the party’s powerful decision-making body, the central parliamentary board (CPB), in 2007. Singh’s running feud with Arun Jaitley over inclusion of the Delhi businessman Sudhanshu Mittal in the party’s decision-making body was an open secret. By all accounts, Singh was known for kowtowing to the RSS’s diktats.

However, in the given circumstance, Singh’s antecedents appear to be a buried chapter as he assiduously cultivated his relations with Modi, Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, and showed adequate deference to Advani. At the same time, he played the role of a troubleshooter for the RSS and held discussions with all these leaders to neutralise their hostility against Gadkari. In the emerging scenario, he was equally at ease with the RSS as with the BJP leadership opposed to Gadkari. His “studied neutrality” in the whole affair stood him in good stead. Given his own stature as former UP chief minister and union minister, Singh is not a political lightweight either who can be dismissed easily.

Comments

 

Other News

Yoga Day has changed perceptions about it in ten years: PM

The expanding awareness of Yoga over the past ten years has changed perceptions associated with it, prime minister Narendra Modi said in Srinagar on Friday on the occasion of the International Day of Yoga.   “Yoga is now emerging beyond limited boundaries. The world is witnessing t

Listening to tomorrow: The imperative for youth-driven data in India

Over a decade and a half ago when I was still a student, millennials felt the burning need to break down the barriers of gatekeeping in traditional media. Young voices, brimming with ideas and opinions, were often sidelined, their perspectives deemed too marginal or unrefined for mainstream discourse. This

Israel-Palestine War: Lessons from Past Peace Efforts

Israel-Palestine War: Give Peace a Chance By Dr. Joseph K. Thomas IndiePress, 243 pages, Rs 399 T

How inner work helps subvert painful narratives

Unashamed By Neha Bhat HarperCollins, 240 pages, Rs 499   * How do I connect better with my partner? *&nbs

Heatwave spikes power demand: measures taken to ensure supply

The Northern Region has been experiencing high power demand conditions due to a prevailing heat wave since May 17. Despite these challenging conditions, the highest ever peak demand of 89 GW in the Northern Region was successfully met on June 17. This achievement was made possible by import

PM to release 17th installment of PM-KISAN at Varanasi on Tuesday

Prime minister Narendra Modi will release the 17th instalment of the PM-KISAN scheme on Tuesday at Varanasi and more than 9.26 crore farmers will receive the benefits amounting to over Rs.20,000 crore. The PM will also distribute the certificates to more than 30,000 SHGs trained as Krishi Sakhis to work as

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter