Debating India

Is RSS planning a new BJP?

Friday 9 July 2004

RAIPUR: Reflecting a widening chasm with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) met here on Friday to discuss the possibility of floating a political outfit dedicated to its "Hindu cause".

The most influential leaders of the RSS and the VHP met at a closed-door session ahead of a three-day all India gathering of its pracharaks, or preachers, that begins Saturday in this Chhattisgarh capital.

Drafting the agenda for the meeting were RSS chief K.S.Sudarshan, secretary general Mohan Bhagwat, ideologue H V Seshadri, spokesman Ram Madhav and political wing coordinator Madan Das Devi. Representing the VHP at the meeting were Pravin Togadia and Ashok Singhal among others.

Sources said the brainstorming session of sorts, to decide on topics to be taken up at the meet, discussed the proposed revamp of the RSS, the ideological mentor of the BJP and its affiliated groups.

It also explored the option of starting a political party that would be dedicated to the Hindu community’s "welfare and uplift".

VHP leaders apparently suggested that the meet should work out the modalities of floating a new political outfit as the "BJP had let down Hindu sentiments and aspirations", sources said.

RSS leaders said the issue would be discussed comprehensively Sunday, the second day of the meet.

Expressing serious concern, several leaders at the draft preparation meeting agreed with the VHP and said the BJP had moved away from the masses during the last five-six years when it governed the nation under Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Sources said the participants were of the view that traditional Hindu supporters were feeling "ditched" by the BJP’s policy of "appeasing" Muslims.

While disillusionment with the BJP took up much of the time, sources said one of the topics discussed was opening RSS branches in all areas with a population of over 8,000-10,000 people.

Other topics that would be discussed at the upcoming three-day meet would be construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya, the BJP’s poll debacle and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s move to remove chapters of Hindu kings from history textbooks.

Religious conversions would also figure in the meet.

See online : The Times of India

P.S.

in The Times of India, Friday, July 09, 2004.

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