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Sangh to suggest course correction for BJP

By BS Political Bureau
May 11, 2004 08:41 IST
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The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is planning a meeting in August to discuss, among other things, the drifting away of the Bharatiya Janata Party from the Hindutva ideology and how to correct it.

Although the meeting is a routine one that is held thrice a year, it assumes significance as it comes soon after the general election.

If the BJP is able to form a government, the meeting will discuss how the RSS can adjust its relations with a party that was meant to take forward the Hindutva agenda politically, but had to compromise because of the pressure of power and pragmatic politics.

This issue generated some heat at the organisation's meeting in Jaipur some months ago. Several RSS delegates emphasised that the Hindu way of life was not just about embracing the cause of Hindutva, but also about adopting a value system that emphasised personal integrity, austerity and self-denial.

Delegates warned that middle-ranking leaders of the BJP had a tendency towards indolence and corruption of a kind seen in the Congress. Under these circumstances, the RSS would be unable to work with such people.

This meeting, scheduled for August, will be attended by the BJP's secretary (organisation) Sanjay Joshi and party chief M Venkaiah Naidu.

Last year, at a special meeting at Delhi's Chandiwala Estate, BJP leaders LK Advani and others had to hear out RSS leaders on similar issues.

During the August meeting, Venkaiah Naidu is likely to be put through the wringer over the conduct of party leaders like Civil Aviation Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy who 'gobbled up chicken worth Rs 60,000'.

Rudy's New Year holiday in Goa last year had caused enormous embarrassment to the Sangh Parivar.

The BJP's attempts to downplay Hindutva, forge a rainbow coalition of parts and woo religious minorities have not gone down well with the RSS, which sees it as a betrayal of the Hindu cause.

The RSS has been harping that it such an approach will cost the party and the Hindu organisation dear.

At present, a section of the RSS believes that "a vote for the BJP is a vote against ideology".

RSS leader Bal Apte put things in perspective last week, when was quoted as having said: "The mainspring of development is also Hindutva."

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BS Political Bureau