Battling groups within the BJP paused for reassessment today as word
spread that L.K. Advani had dug in his heels and would fight back
any attack on him and his camp, but the RSS made its voice heard.
Senior Sangh ideologue and former spokesperson M.G. Vaidya accused
the BJP of “inconsistency” on Hindutva and reminded the party that
however hard it had tried, it had never been able to shake off
Vaidya, writing in Tarun Bharat, a pro-RSS Marathi daily published
from Nagpur, said: “BJP had adopted Gandhian socialism but it could
not stop itself from being labelled a communal party. After the 1984
(poll) debacle, BJP again started chanting Hindutva.”
if on cue, party president Rajnath Singh, who sources said could not
decide whether he should side with Advani or the RSS, swore
allegiance to Hindutva.
want to put this bluntly that I still abide by the ideology of
Hindutva which I have followed ever since I commenced my political
career,” PTI quoted the BJP chief as saying in Ghaziabad.
Yesterday, Rajnath had acted on Advani’s “diktat” that an example
should be made of Yashwant Sinha and the former Union minister
handed “swift punishment”, sources said.
Sinha, in a five-page letter that was a veiled attack on Advani and
his loyalists, had called for collective responsibility for the
election debacle and offered to resign from all party posts. Rajnath
promptly accepted the resignations.
Advani, the sources said, had not forgotten that it was Sinha who in
June 2005 had first demanded he should quit as BJP president for
praising Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Advani finally had to step down under
The sources said Sinha’s letter was “leaked” to the media by the
Word went around today that Advani was far from being “beaten and
bruised”. “At least for the moment, it appears that he is unlikely
to go down without a fight,” a party source said.
Senior leaders and office-bearers who had been getting ready to
follow Sinha and resign to put pressure on the Advani camp then
pulled in their punches, the sources said.
Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Shanta Kumar and general
secretaries Gopinath Munde and Vijay Goel were among the leaders who
had planned to protest against the party “rewarding failure and
punishing success” — as they see the appointment of Advani and that
of his loyalist Arun Jaitley, who was the campaign in-charge, as
leaders of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
The disgruntled leaders had hoped to time their resignations with
the national executive, which meets for the first time after the
elections on June 20 and 21 in the capital, and force a
free-wheeling debate on the subjects raised by Sinha.
But even if Advani appears to have outflanked his BJP detractors for
now, the RSS is making sure it is heard.
Sangh sources said that while the leaders were not expected to be as
“pro-active” as they were during the crisis inspired by Advani’s
praise of Jinnah in 2005, they would put issues like Hindutva on the
party’s table “in their own way” and “force” the BJP to take an
Vaidya’s article today is an indication of this.
Although Vaidya is no longer in the core group of the RSS, Sangh
sources said he was “used” whenever the RSS wanted to “send a
message” to the BJP. Vaidya’s son Man Mohan is a senior RSS
office-bearer and close to sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat. “His
writing cannot be dismissed easily,” a BJP source said.