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Sangh accused of trying to push its choice of BJP chief.

Byline: Ajay Jha

New Delhi An assertion by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), to the effect that it is not interfering with functioning of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has failed to convince BJP leaders.

The BJP is perceived to be the political wing of the RSS. However, leaders at the BJP's Ashoka Road central office are not convinced that they are free to nominate their new national president.

Faced with growing criticism that the Nagpur-based RSS had not only selected BJP's new president, Nitin Gadkari, but was also ready with a list of new office bearers, has had a demoralising impact on the party at a time when it is trying to win the assembly elections in Jharkhand.

On Wednesday, RSS publicity chief Manmohan Vaidya said the RSS had neither recommended any name nor opposed anybody's. It dismissed claims that it had opposed the elevation of Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, M. Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar as the new BJP president.

"They are all senior leaders of the BJP and the RSS has very cordial relations with them," Vaidya said.

The organisation said it only expressed its opinion only when BJP leaders sought its advice.


"It is totally the BJP's prerogative to decide who its president should be," he said.

Incidentally, RSS critics often accuse it of indulging in doublespeak. Furthermore, BJP leaders don't believe that RSS means what it says in selection of the new party chief, due to take over next month when Rajnath Singh's tenure ends.

It normal course of things, the choice was confined amongst the four Delhi-based leaders. However, it was RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat who advocated the cause of Gadkari, who is barely known outside his home state Maharashtra.

"We all know that Gadkari lacks experience and stature to be heading a national party at this stage, but who can dare propose any other name. RSS advice is simply an order that must be implemented," said one BJP member.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Nov 20, 2009
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