Former vice-president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat —one of the founding leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) —has come out against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) assuming control of the BJP following poor results in the Lok Sabha polls.
He has also scoffed at the idea of age bar — between 55 and 60 — for leaders suggested by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for holding party posts.
“I am glad I am not holding any post now,” said Shekhawat, adding that he did not think age should be used against anyone including Advani to ease them out of position.
“It’s not easy to replace a leader of the stature of Advani or Vajpayee who is not keeping well. Advani has contributed a lot for the party. I have known him since he began work in Rajasthan ...," said Shekhawat.
The former vice president, like Vajpayee and Advani, never allowed the Sangh to dictate terms when he was chief minister of Rajasthan. “If you put an age bar, the party will suffer. Neither the Congress nor the Left is talking of excluding leaders on the basis of age. Why should the BJP get into this? Frankly, I do not know whether the RSS is forcing this issue on BJP. I always had no problem from the Sangh..,” he told HT.
Shekhawat said, “The RSS take over of the BJP may be an easy affair but running the party won't be easy. That's not the solution ... The system needs to be changed.”
He added, “It’s not that the BJP is finished ...It has a huge potential. There are a number of dedicated workers."
Asked about BJP chief Rajnath Singh's remark that anybody speaking about Mohammed Ali Jinnah would face action, Shekhawat asked, “Why are they (BJP leaders) obsessed with Jinnah. Jaswant Singh only wrote a book. He is entitled to his view. What was the need to expel him? He is a senior leader. He was called to Shimla and then sent out.”