It’s RSS all the way in BJP

RSS volunteers during a session in Nagpur. File photo: S. Sudarshan   | Photo Credit: S. Sudarshan

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh never had it so good in the BJP. After the appointment of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who is a direct import from the RSS, party president Amit Shah’s residual team of general secretaries (after the Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet was expanded on November 9) has mostly Sangh deputationists and former pracharaks running party affairs.

As the political arm of the Sangh, the BJP has always had prominent leaders with RSS background including both NDA Prime Ministers. But the Sangh’s influence on managing day-to-day affairs of the party has never been so pronounced, insiders admit.

The party currently has five general secretaries, of whom Ram Madhav, Ram Lal and P. Murlidhar Rao were sent directly from the RSS into the BJP. The remaining two, Bhupendra Yadav and Saroj Pandey, have close links with the RSS. Mr. Yadav, in fact, was sent from the RSS to the Akhil Bharatiya Adivakta Parishad, the Sangh’s lawyers collective, before he was brought into the BJP and given Rajya Sabha ticket in April 2012.

Mr. Madhav joined the party in July. He was the RSS spokesperson before that. Mr. Rao was sent to the BJP in 2009 as an attaché to the then party president Rajnath Singh. Mr. Ram Lal came in 2006 as general secretary (organisation), a post created especially for RSS pracharaks who act as a bridge between the Sangh and the BJP. There are several such bridges now. Mr. Shah is the first president to appoint four joint general secretaries (organisation). All four — V. Satish, Saudan Singh, Shiv Prakash and B.L. Santosh — are swayamsevaks. Mr. Prakash, who joined the party in August, was RSS kshetra pracharak in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand before that. Sources said he is likely to be elevated to the post of general secretary when Mr. Shah expands his team while Mr. Madhav could find a slot in the party’s apex decision-making body, the Parliamentary Board. While Mr. Yadav is in charge of the Jharkhand elections and Bihar, Mr. Rao has been asked to look after Tamil Nadu along with his primary responsibility of Karnataka.

Despite several office-bearers becoming ministers, Mr. Shah is not in a hurry to replace them. “We are focussing on the membership drive and the State elections. New appointments are not likely at least till December 23,” a party leader said.

From the time Mr. Shah was brought in from Gujarat State politics and appointed general secretary of Uttar Pradesh and later elevated to the position of party president, he has constantly relied on Sangh men for managing elections and party affairs. During the Lok Sabha elections, he brought in Sunil Bansal from the RSS to manage the war room in Lucknow.

Mr. Bansal is now general secretary in the State which sent one-fourth of BJP’s MPs to the Lok Sabha. After the BJP’s win in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, believed to have been catalysed by the vast network of RSS cadres, the Sangh’s influence within the party has only increased.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 8:09:01 PM |

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