Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat denies media reports that the outfit had asked Mr. Advani to quit the BJP leadership and pave the way for the younger generation to take over.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Saturday clarified that he never discussed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s leadership issue with Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani, arguing that the BJP was an independent, autonomous organisation capable of managing its affairs.

Denying media reports that the RSS had asked Mr. Advani to quit leadership and pave way for the younger generation to take over, Mr. Bhagwat, who was in the city, said no direction had been issued to the BJP on leadership.

Recalling his recent meeting with Mr. Advani in Delhi, he said it was the BJP leader who wanted an appointment with him, and not the other way round.

There was no need for the RSS to assess the BJP’s performance in the general election since the party itself was perfectly capable of doing that.

“What happened to the BJP is not the topic of the RSS. We do not think about the debacle or victory of a particular party, because RSS is not a political party,” he said. There was a mutual exchange of views between the RSS and the swayamsevaks in the BJP. But the organisations are separate and not related.”

The RSS, however, asked the BJP to think about the poll outcome and make amendments, Mr. Bhagwat said.

For the BJP, the jolt was unexpected and temporarily destabilised the organisation. “It is evident that they are slowly regaining their balance.”

“The RSS does not have any problem with anybody,” he said to a question whether it had problems with Mr. Advani’s leadership.

Had the RSS been operating the BJP, one of its leaders would have gone to Rajasthan, where the party was facing a crisis, said Mr. Bhagwat.

“Advaniji was a swayamsevak when I was not born. They are very senior and experienced. I don’t think myself qualified to advise them,” he said.

On constructing a Ram temple at Ayodhya, Mr. Bhagwat said the land had to be acquired first. There were three ways — a court verdict, enactment of a law in Parliament and a change of heart.

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