Sulking BJP brass makes beeline to meet RSS chief

Last Updated: Sunday, August 30, 2009 - 23:04

New Delhi: Several leaders of
crisis-ridden BJP made a beeline to meet RSS Chief Mohan
Bhagwat during his three-day stay in the capital, which ended
on Sunday, to air their grievances and seek his advice.

Though RSS has always maintained that it is for BJP to
resolve its internal squabbles and that the organisation was
there only to "help and advise", there is little doubt about
who guides and controls the party.

When Bhagwat and all the senior-most RSS leaders
arrived here on Thursday, BJP president Rajnath Singh was one
of the first ones to hold a meeting with him. Later, Bhagwat
said in a press conference that he and Rajnath had discussed
the issues plaguing BJP and the latter had promised to
look into them.

Varun Gandhi, one of the Young Turks of the party who
was in the eye of a storm during the elections for his alleged
hate speech, met Bhagwat on Friday.

Later in the evening, after Bhagwat`s interaction with
the press, senior leader L K Advani sent his close confidants
Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, M Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar
to him to discuss the reasons for the poll debacle and the
road ahead for the party.

"Serious brainstorming about the causes -- big and
small -- of the defeat and problems like factionalism and
infighting were discussed between RSS and BJP," a senior party
leader said.

Bhagwat is said to have discussed with the BJP leaders
who visited him, the qualifications that RSS feels the next
party president should have.

"It was felt that party leaders should be allowed to
vent their ire within the organisation. The party could not go
on a sacking spree for indiscipline," a party MP said.

Senior leader L K Advani, whose continuance as Leader
of Opposition in the Lok Sabha was the hottest topic of
discussion, also held a 90-minute meeting with Bhagwat. On
Sunday, Bhagwat called on Advani for a breakfast meeting.

Bhagwat surprised many when he visited senior BJP
leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Saturday and had lunch with him.
In the evening Joshi visited RSS office here.

Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister B C Khanduri met
Bhagwat to air his grievances. He has been sulking ever since
he was forced to step down as the central leadership held him
responsible for BJP`s failure to win a single Lok Sabha seat
in Uttarakhand. He was removed despite claiming the support of
24 of the 35 BJP MLAs.

His bete noire and former RSS member B S Koshiyari
also called on Bhagwat later.

Others who called on Bhagwat include Bal Apte, Chandan
Mitra, Balbir Punj, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi,
Kalraj Mishra, and Shahnawaz Hussain, among others.

A surprise visitor was Janata Party leader Subramanyam
Swami.

Bureau Report



First Published: Sunday, August 30, 2009 - 23:04

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