Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday sought to downplay the meetings its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, and president, Rajnath Singh, had with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leadership over the weekend as a “courtesy call,” the Sangh made it clear that post-poll strategy was discussed in the huddle.
Mindful that the meetings would be seen by political detractors as evidence of the BJP being “remote-controlled” from Nagpur, Mr. Singh described his two-hour meeting at the Sangh’s Delhi office in Jhandewalan on Sunday as a call to thank the RSS for its organisational support in the elections.
However, RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale told the media that the general strategy to form the next government was discussed, and added that there was no such thing as a “courtesy meeting” in the Sangh. Appreciative of the hard work put in by the BJP for this election, the Sangh is said to be confident of seeing its government at the Centre.
Mr. Modi met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Saturday night. Senior RSS leader Suresh Soni was also present at the meeting between Mr. Modi and Mr. Bhagwat.
The Congress, which has had to deal with BJP criticism of party president Sonia Gandhi “remote-controlling” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was quick to use the meetings as evidence of the RSS influence over the BJP. In response, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said: “After any election, we meet people who helped us. Mr. Modi is from the RSS and he met them. Big Deal! At least our remote control is nationalist; not in Rome.”