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Advani denies RSS a sweep

Wrapping up the three-day BJP Chennai Chintan, the BJP President delivered his sharpest-ever attack on the RSS.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2005 15:40 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer

The RSS has had its way, but not completely. BJP president L.K. Advani announced on Sunday he will quit. Not immediately, as demanded by the Sangh, but in December -- after the party's silver-jubilee gala in Mumbai. Also, he let the Sangh have a piece of his mind: go find another ride.

Wrapping up the three-day BJP conclave here, Advani delivered his sharpest-ever attack on the RSS. The Sangh has been baying for his blood since the controversy over his remark in praise of M.A. Jinnah in Pakistan three months ago. On Sunday he made no attempt to conceal his irritation at the knickerwallahs.

Though he did not give any reason, Advani made it clear that his exit had to do with the RSS, and also with his efforts to correct the BJP's image and reach out to more people, which began with his speeches in Pakistan. (Advani had given a lengthy explanation for his Pakistan trip while opening the conclave last Friday.) Advani said it was time the RSS got off the BJP's back and let the party function in a manner that enabled it to expand itself to reach out to "large sections of the people outside the layers of all ideology".

In his view, the RSS should stick to its shakhas -- promoting its ideology and training BJP functionaries. And it should leave politics to the BJP.

Advani said lately an impression had gained ground that no political or organisational decision could be taken without the consent of RSS functionaries. "This perception, we hold, will do no good to either the party or the RSS, which too must be concerned that such a perception will dwarf its greater mission of man-making and nation-building."

First Published: Sep 30, 2005 15:22 IST