RSS may pull out its nominee in State BJP unit

Snubbed by the official faction of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the organisational polls in the State, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will hold a conclave at its headquarters, Prant Karyalaya, in Kochi, on Monday to chalk out its future course of action.

This will be the first time that the RSS, led by the Prantha Karyavahak P. Gopalankutty and Prantha Pracharak P.R. Sasidharan, will be discussing its estranged relationship with BJP in the State. The issue comes close on the heels of an anti-RSS lobby in the BJP calling the shots, especially in its organisational set-up, sources told The Hindu here on Sunday.

As a first step, the RSS plans to pull out its nominee, K.R. Umakanth, from the post of organisational secretary of the BJP.

The BJP Central leadership had relied on the support extended by Mr. Umakanth which finally paved the way for the re-nomination of V. Muraleedharan, who had been facing the wrath of the RSS leaders, as the State unit president.

The RSS leaders believe that Mr. Umakanth aligned with the anti-RSS faction in the BJP and that he had told all-India general secretary B. Muraleedhara Rao during his visit to Thiruvananthapuram on February 16 that the RSS favoured Mr. Muraleedharan’s continuance as party president.

Second term

On February 18, BJP national president Rajnath Singh appointed Mr. Muraleedharan as State unit president for a second term.

Incidentally, Mr. Umakanth was refused an appointment with Mr. Sasidharan at the RSS headquarters soon after the announcement.

The situation is somewhat similar to that when the RSS cut to size P.P. Mukundan, the former organisational secretary of the BJP, and sent him to oblivion. However no hasty decision would be taken at this juncture, the sources said.

The RSS had been at loggerheads with the official faction led by Mr. Muraleedharan ever since he began to drift apart from the RSS leaders. Already Mr. Gopalankutty has said that the RSS will not negotiate if factional feuds break out within the BJP if Mr. Muraleedharan was re-nominated. Now it has decided not cooperate with BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. A section of BJP leaders led by O. Rajagopal, P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, and P.K. Krishnadas will meet Mr. Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on February 27 to discuss the RSS-BJP rift.

Scene changes

Two years ago, it was a different scene altogether. The RSS firmly backed the candidature of Mr. Muraleedharan who was then the State vice-president and forced Mr. Mukundan to withdraw his candidature in the last moment.

With infighting intensifying, the BJP Central leadership has asked Mr. Muraleedharan to appoint office-bearers and district presidents only after consulting senior leaders. However this is unlikely to happen as the power struggle in the party has grown irrepressible.

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