Mohan Bhagwat looked into the bank of cameras trained on him and said, “The BJP will rise from the ashes.” Don’t give up on your party, he was telling cadres. It’ll be back.
The RSS chief’s press conference was not as much about addressing media questions about the BJP, as it was about addressing a party that’s low on morale, hope and confidence.
After the news conference, he went into a huddle with party leaders Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Anant Kumar, who then went straight into another meeting with L K Advani.
Something is cooking. According to a formula under consideration Advani may become parliamentary party chairman, Jaitley takes over as BJP chief and Swaraj is named leader of opposition.
Bhagwat stonewalled all questions on the ongoing crisis in the BJP with repeated references to his interview to Times Now.
Should Advani go?
“That’s for the BJP to decide.”
On Advani and Kandahar (hijacking of IC 814 in 1999).
“Kandahar is a BJP issue.”
On Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru and Gandhiji.
“We respect whoever has done service to the nation. The Sangh considers them as respected figures.” (This was a new formulation.)
The firework expected from the much-hyped news conference was missing. Sangh watchers said it’s not the Sangh’s style to go public with what it wants the BJP to do. It would be already at work quietly.
As it has been, indeed.
On Friday, Bhagwat was putting into motion a part of the rescue plan perhaps: how to make its cadres feel better. He repeatedly said the sangh wasn’t worried that it was confident the party will come through.
That’s something the ranks must be dying to hear, buffeted as they have been by nothing but bad news over the last few weeks — post-poll trauma, infighting, leaked letters and expulsions.