Conversion row: Amidst Parliament logjam, BJP leaders meet RSS top brass

Amidst political logjam in both Houses of Parliament, BJP leaders met RSS top brass in Union Minister Nitin Gadkari's residence, as per reports on Monday.

Updated: Dec 23, 2014, 00:36 AM IST
Conversion row: Amidst Parliament logjam, BJP leaders meet RSS top brass

Delhi: Amidst political logjam in both Houses of Parliament, BJP leaders met RSS top brass in Union Minister Nitin Gadkari's residence here, as per reports on Monday.

BJP leaders Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, Ananth Kumar and party president Amit Shah, amongst others were said to be present in the meeting.

On the other hand, RSS second-in-command Bhaiyyaji Joshi, Suresh Soni and others present at the dinner.

However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not present in the meeting.

As per speculation in the media, the meeting was held to discuss the conversion row that has led to major uproar in Parliament with the Opposition cornering the ruling BJP over the issue.

Party sources said the leaders discussed the current political situation and issues of governance at a time when the Opposition has attacked the government and BJP over forced conversions across the country.

Party leaders were tight-lipped about discussions that took place in the meeting while BJP sources said it was a periodic review meeting where leaders of BJP, its ideological fountainhead RSS and government sit together to discuss the political situation and other urgent matters to ensure smooth coordination with the party.

At the meeting, the RSS and the BJP were reported to have stressed on the need for a campaign for an anti-conversion law. The Government and the BJP have expressed their readiness to have such a law but put the onus on the opposition to give its support for this measure.

Among others present at the meeting included BJP general secretaries Ram Lal and Ram Madhav, both of whom have been closely associated with the RSS and seior Sangh leader Bajrang Lal Gupta.

An united Opposition has been demanding a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the matter. However, the PM has chosen to remain quite till now.

The conversion heat, which has been paralysing Rajya Sabha since last week, today reached the Lok Sabha with Opposition trying to corner the government which asserted that neither it nor BJP has anything to do with conversions.

Raising the issue in the wake of media report about conversion of 30 Dalit Christians to Hinduism in Kerala, the Opposition demanded that only Prime Minister should respond to the concerns over it because "only his writ runs in the country" and he is the "commanding authority" who "holds the master key".

Rejecting the demand, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Naidu said the government does not support conversion or re-conversion and if any individuals are violating the law, state governments are empowered to take action, as per PTI.

Opposition and Treasury benches indulged in slanging match repeatedly leading to two adjournments. Several parties, including Congress, TMC, Left, RJD, JD-U and JD-S, staged a walkout expressing unhappiness over rejection of their demand.

The issue of conversion, which has led to stalling of Rajya Sabha for almost entire last week, was raised by Congress member K C Venugopal. He was supported by other members of Congress and opposition parties.

On December 20, strongly defending the current controversial campaign of the Sangh Parivar, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat dared the Opposition to support a law banning religious conversions.

He also asked the other minorities not to convert Hindus if they also do not want to come back to Hinduism.

"We are trying to create a strong Hindu society. Those who have strayed, they have not gone on their own. They have been allured and have been forcibly taken away. When the thief is being caught and my property has been recovered, when I am taking back my own property, what is new in it?" Bhagwat wondered at a Hindu sammelan in Kolkata, as per PTI.

"If you don't like it (re-conversion to Hinduism), then bring a law against it. You don't want to bring it. If you don't want to change into a Hindu, then you should not convert Hindus too. We are firm in our position," he had said.

With Agency inputs