The debate on re-electing Nitin Gadkari as Bharatiya Janata Party chief and the manner in which the entire issue was handled led to serious differences among top leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), say insiders.
Sources in the RSS said while a section of the RSS leadership insisted on re-electing Gadkari, others wanted to reconsider his name as the raids began on Purti Group’s offices by income tax officials.
Sources said four top Sangh functionaries — general secretary Bhaiyaji Joshi, Dattatreya Hosbale, Suresh Soni and Ram Lal — played a crucial role in the removal of Gadkari and obtaining consensus on Rajnath Singh. Apart from Lal, who is the organising secretary of BJP, the three others are central RSS office bearers.
Several leaders were uncomfortable over the pressure exerted by some RSS leaders on the BJP top brass to re-elect Gadkari. “RSS considers BJP as a member of Sangh Parivar but what happened in the case of Gadkari — the lack of consensus — never happened in the past,” said an RSS leader, requesting anonymity.
Sources said the RSS leadership had to reconsider Gadkari’s name and arrive at a consensus as veteran BJP leader LK Advani took a strong stand.