The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the apex body of the rightwing Hindu organisation, will begin a crucial three-day meeting at its national headquarters in Nagpur on Friday to chalk out to a strategy to ensure electoral success for its political front, the BJP, in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
Despite its internal differences with the BJP over its dilution of the Hindutva principle, the RSS is willing to prop up the party in the elections essentially because it is keen to see senior BJP leader LK Advani, who was once a dedicated RSS pracharak (canvasser), ascend the prime ministerial throne. RSS recognises that for Advani, this election offers probably the last opportunity to have a go for the top job in the country.
Around 1500 pracharaks from all over the country, representing different frontal rightwing Hindu organisations, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal, will be attending the three-day Pratinidhi Sabha that begins at the Reshimbagh, the national headquarters of the RSS in Nagpur on Friday. Representatives of the BJP, including Advani and Rajnath Singh are likely to attend the meeting.
The BJP, currently in the grip of internal dissensions at the senior level, is well aware that it cannot achieve any substantial victory in the coming elections unless all the frontal organisations under the RSS umbrella gave their wholehearted support. It is well known that there is a strong resentment in the rank and file of VHP and Bajrang Dal over the BJP leadership’s soft-pedaling of the Hindutwa plant and the party’s ditching the Hindu activists during recent communal clashes in Kandhamal (Orissa) and other places in the country. The BJP’s distancing itself from the controversy surrounding Varun Gandhi’s recent utterances at an election rally in Pilibhit has also not gone down well with the Hindu activists.
In view of this, the BJP leadership has sought the help of the RSS top brass to persuade the frontal organisations to give up their hostility toward the BJP leadership and work for the electoral success of the party. According to local BJP sources, activists of VHP, Bajarang Dal and other organisations will be given an opportunity to vent their feelings at the Pratinidhi Sabha, the decision-making body of the sangh parivar, that holds its meeting once in three years, in order to assure them that the BJP leadership is keen to listen to their viewpoint and accommodate their concerns during the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections.
Deliberations at the Pratinidhi Sabha are likely to focus on the present political scenario in the country, particularly the internal security, cross border terrorism and the coming elections. The key role to be played by the Hindu swayamsevaks in the ensuing general elections will also figure in the deliberations. Prominent RSS functionaries of various regions would table reports giving feedback on current political scene in their respective areas, and suggestions to improve the party’s electoral prospects.
However, contrary to the speculations, there is no possibility of the incumbent RSS chief KS Sudarshan stepping down and paving the way for the current general secretary Mohan Bhagwat to take over the top post. “Sudarshan is absolutely fit and mentally agile as ever. There is no need for him to step down on the health grounds,” a senior RSS leader said.
The meeting is likely to re-nominate Bhagwat as general secretary this time. The new working committee will more or less be same, with some minor changes, the senior RSS leader further informed.