Taking one step forward the process of consultations between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on a road map for the BJP including a change of leadership, party president Rajnath Singh and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat met here on Tuesday.
With just six-seven weeks left for the end of Mr. Singh’s tenure, a new party chief will have to be in place under the BJP constitution and the consultation process is expected to move towards decision-making.
A couple of weeks earlier, Mr. Bhagwat had lunch at the residence of Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani.
Although a change of leadership — of the party president as well as the Leader of the Opposition — is seen as inevitable by most BJP leaders, deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, according to agency reports from Ratlam, said for the second time on Tuesday that Mr. Advani “will not step down” and “there was no talk in the party in this regard.”
She dismissed this talk as a “media creation,” reiterating a stand she took at the very end of the last session of Parliament, which is almost in contradiction of the RSS position emphasising the need for a generational change in leadership.
Only last week, was RSS point man Ram Madhav quoted confirming that Mr. Advani would step down after the end of the winter session of Parliament, but by evening he retracted his statement even as some people in the BJP considered close to Mr. Advani began attacking the RSS for what they described as “micro-management” of the party.
Other party leaders are also annoyed at Mr. Bhagwat’s statement on television that “none of the four” central leaders — Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, M. Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar — was being considered for party chief.
Party leaders said the two-and-half-hour meeting between Mr. Rajnath Singh and Mr. Bhagwat at the RSS headquarters in Jhandewalan was “routine.” Since the flurry of meetings after the BJP’s chintan baithak in August, this was the first meeting between the chiefs of the party and the mother organisation.