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RSS chief upset over Joshi ouster, Modi spared

The Sangh Parivar, particularly the RSS sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat, reportedly expressed strong displeasure over the recent unceremonious ouster of senior Sangh cadre Sanjay Joshi from the national executive of BJP. Pradip Kumar Maitra reports.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2012 01:13 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Hindustan Times

The Sangh Parivar, particularly the RSS sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat, reportedly expressed strong displeasure over the recent unceremonious ouster of senior Sangh cadre Sanjay Joshi from the national executive of BJP. Giving in to intense pressure from BJP’s posterboy and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, Joshi was first shown the door from the BJP’s national executive and subsequently relieving him from the poll in-charge of Uttar Pradesh.

A senior sangh pracharak, who preferred anonymity, claimed that the recent editorial in BJP mouthpiece ‘Kamal Sandesh’ that no leader should consider oneself bigger than the party was in fact, Bhagwat’s opinion, which he is believed to have echoed before his close lieutenants. That Modi had his way on Joshi’s exit was also considered as the former’s sheer display of arrogance, driven by a clash of egos by the Sangh Parivar.

According to him, the Sangh preferred to keep mum on the whole "drama" in view of the ensuing Gujarat elections and a smooth passage for Nitin Gadkari’s re-election as party president.

Moreover, the Sangh Parivar did not want a message to be sent across that Gadkari’s re-election to the BJP top post by amending the norms in the national executive did not have a powerful leader like Modi’s approval, who also considered a face of ‘Hinduvtava’ and his ever-growing clout in the party.

Joshi, first sent to the BJP by the RSS in 1988 to use his organizational skills in building the party in Gujarat, had to leave in 2005 over a sleaze CD. After taking over as BJP president, Gadkari rehabilitated Joshi -- his childhood friend -- in view of his organizational ability and entrusted him the job of Bihar and UP elections. Joshi was also included in the national executive, which did not go down well with Modi. Joshi’s friend-turned-foe Modi refused to campaign in the UP elections for the party and unofficially boycotted the national executive. Moreover, of late, the Gujarat chief minister was not even taking Gadkari’s phone calls.

When Gadkari rang up Modi on May 23, just before the national executive at Mumbai and requested him to attend, the Gujarat chief minister laid down the condition of Joshi’s axe from the executive.

Gadkari, a darling of Bhagwat, tried to use his good offices in RSS for intervention, but in vain. The BJP president did not dare to take risk when the senior party leader Lal Krishna Advani blogged questioning his leadership and other senior party leaders including Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jetlay were hostile. He narrated the entire things before Joshi who "sacrificed" himself for his friend to pave way for Modi attending the Mumbai meet.

But as pro-Joshi posters appeared in Delhi and some places in Gujarat, Modi made a telephone call to Gadkari, asking the latter to either relieve him from his chief minister’s post or Joshi from the party. Faced with this ultimatum, Gadkari made yet another crafty move by making Joshi to resign as BJP’s election in-charge of UP.

However, the RSS headquarters claimed that Joshi would be honourably re-inducted in the organization after Gadkari’s re-election the December Gujarat elections are over this year. It was said that he would be given an important task of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh elections to be held in October next year, the pracharak claimed.

Given a belief held by section of RSS cadres, it seems that the RSS would not tolerate Modi’s arrogance for a long. The RSS, which is literally directing the BJP affairs, may take on Modi after the Gujarat polls and Gadkari’s re-election by end of this year.

The senior RSS leader and former Buddhik Pramukh of the saffron organization, MG Vaidya, said that the party is bigger than any individual. “The Modi-Joshi tussle is not good for the party,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, neither Gadkari nor Bhagwat was available for comments. Joshi who was here to attend a meeting of RSS said that he was still in the BJP. "I have only relinquished the national executive and UP in-charge. I am still a primary member of the party," he said.

Talking to Hindustan Times, he also dismissed the rumours that he would be given the job of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram by the RSS. Joshi met Vaidya during his Nagpur visit and had a long discussion.

First Published: Jun 13, 2012 18:56 IST