The squabbling saffron siblings – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena – have found no help from the Hindutva fountainhead – the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – to end the seat-sharing deadlock. The RSS had earlier refused to give any active support to the BJP in the October 15 assembly elections, unlike the parliamentary elections.
The RSS has, for now, adopted a wait-and-watch stance and may not intervene even if the BJP-Sena’s 25-year-old alliance ends, a senior RSS leader indicated on Thursday.
BJP president Amit Shah, who met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, in July this year, had reportedly sought the Sangh Parivar’s active support much like in the Lok Sabha elections, when over six lakh swayamsevaks had mobilised support for the BJP to get an absolute majority.
In their July meeting, however, Bhagwat made it clear to Shah that the BJP must fend for itself in the state elections because the RSS did not want the saffron party to be dependent on it every time for electoral success.
Sources said the RSS is not happy with Modi’s “authoritarian” way of functioning and his insistence on making Shah party president. “Having a PM and a party president from one state has not gone down well with the RSS,” said a senior RSS leader, requesting anonymity.
Political observers, therefore, are not surprised the RSS keeping mum on the Sena-BJP rift over seat sharing.
Asked if the Sangh would intervene in breaking BJP-Sena deadlock, senior RSS leader Manmohan Vaidya held on to the ‘no-politics-for us’ line. “Both parties have senior leaders with experience and capability to handle the problem. We have absolutely nothing to do in this matter,” he said.
Asked if the RSS was worried that the two parties were drifting apart, Vaidya said the RSS could never play a mediator.
There are many in the Sangh who feel that the BJP as a national party leading the government at the Centre should stop playing second fiddle to Shiv Sena. In fact, Sangh’s blue-eyed boy Nitin Gadkari is keen on dumping the Sena for good.