Successive poll drubbings may loosen RSS’ grip, cause leadership crisis | india | Hindustan Times
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Successive poll drubbings may loosen RSS’ grip, cause leadership crisis

india Updated: Oct 23, 2009 00:03 IST
Shekhar Iyer

The poll results in Maharashtra and Haryana have further dampened the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) morale, triggering yet another blame game.

The one that began after the Lok Sabha polls has not yet died down.

It has also raised questions over an unpublicised plan of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to let the BJP affairs drift till they can agree on a new party chief, which may happen only by the year-end.

The row within the party over the succession line and changes in the hierarchy after party chief Rajnath Singh’s term ends and L.K. Advani calls it a day as Leader of Opposition has almost paralysed the decision-making process, party functionaries say.

The RSS has been seeking a more prominent role in BJP affairs. But the party’s defeat in Maharashtra, which is the Sangh’s home ground, also put a question mark on its ability to influence results.

“We failed to tie up correctly in Haryana and could not persuade Bal Thackeray or his son Uddhav to work for a patch-up with (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief) Raj Thackeray in Maharashtra,” said a BJP leader.

In Maharashtra, the MNS, the splinter group of Shiv Sena, again played the spoilsport for the Sena-BJP combine. MNS hit Sena-BJP in more than 40 seats.

“If this trend is not checked,” said a party functionary, “the BJP could lose the next election in Jharkhand too.”
An immediate fallout, explained another leader, could be that the RSS may no longer be able to press with its choice of a leader like Nitin Gadkari (Maharashtra BJP chief) to succeed Rajnath Singh.

In Haryana, there are allegations that builder lobbies close to the party chief and Congress chief minister Bhupinder Hooda
played a role in ticket distribution and eventually spoilt BJP’s chances.

Om Prakash Chautala-led INLD put up a surprising performance this time when the BJP had walked away from it, fearing a repeat of the Lok Sabha poll results.

Questions have cropped
up whether Rajnath Singh and his team did not allow a non-Jat formation to emerge in Haryana through a tie-up with the Haryana Janhit Congress – just because their adversary Arun Jaitley had led negotiations with its leader Kuldeep Bishnoi.