The recent developments within the BJP resulting in the elevation of L.K. Advani as the Chairman of its parliamentary wing through arbitrary means have led to a situation where both the saffron outfit and its controlling authority, the RSS, have come out as losers. The happenings have also demonstrated that fascist tendencies within the Sangh parivar continue to dominate its functioning.
The appointment of Sushma Swaraj as leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and that of Arun Jaitley in the same position in Rajya Sabha, in addition to the elevation of Nitin Gadkari as the party president, also indicates that the Sangh has decided to somehow make up for Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s absence by having three Brahmins in key posts. But what is baffling is the tearing hurry with which the parliamentary party constitution was amended without prior notice to pave way for Advani, Swaraj and Jaitley to occupy their positions barely a few hours before Gadkari’s appointment as the BJP chief was to be announced.
It appears that Advani did not wish to take any chances and went ahead with his plan to present a fait accompli to the new party chief, said to be extremely close to the RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat. There is also speculation that Bhagwat, who has ended with egg on his face in view of his statement excluding the D-4 — Jaitley, Swaraj, Ananth Kumar and Venkaiah Naidu — from the race for important positions in the BJP, may have entered a deal with the Advani camp to have Gadkari appointed as the president. Gadkari and Bhagwat hail from the same village.
The RSS had always been reluctant to have a Maharashtrian Brahmin at the helm of affairs of the BJP/Jan Sangh particularly after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, which led to a ban on its activities. Three Brahmin families from the region — Godse, Apte and Kanade — had appeared in the conspiracy behind Gandhi’s murder and the Sangh (also accused of complicity) had to wait for nearly 50 years before it was able to come to power at the Centre during the coalition era. Gadkari is expected to lead the party towards its hardcore Hindutva agenda and has, therefore, been handpicked even though he does not have much experience of Delhi and politics of regions where the party is strong.
But the manner in which things have played out, it appears, that Advani has ensured that Gadkari’s importance remains minimal.
There is another spin to the developments. It is being said that the RSS wanted Advani, a Jinnah-admirer, to step down as leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, which he did as per his own conditions. It may not be difficult to get his nominees out once the appropriate time arrives. According to another version doing the Sangh rounds is that the RSS is unhappy over what has happened and may want things reversed.
But the most apt way of analysing the developments would be that the BJP has a Jinnah-admirer as its parliamentary party head and Gadkari, an RSS stooge, as its president. The appointments are in accordance with Bhagwat’s promise of bringing about a change in the party’s image. Murali Manohar Joshi, the only person who could have fulfilled the actual RSS agenda stands totally marginalised. He was sent to Copenhagen while the real climate change in his party was taking place in the capital.
It is obvious that he has been cheated and outwitted by realpolitik. Advani and Gadkari, the new big two, together may help Bhagwat realise his dream of Akhand Bharat. Both Jinnah and Gandhi will look from above in disbelief. The impossible has happened. Between us.