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RSS set to tighten grip over BJP - The Times of India

Bhaskar Roy ()
13 December 1996

Title : RSS set to tighten grip over BJP
Author : Bhaskar Roy
Publication : The Times of India
Date : December 13, 1996

In a clear move to tighten its grip over the BJP, the RSS
has called a meeting of its pracharaks who are holding
important positions in the party.

The parent organisation has of late made no bones about
its unhappiness over increasing instances of indiscipline
in the BJP and a perceived change in the life-style of
the party legislators and functionaries as a consequence
of tasting power.

The meeting has assumed importance in view of the hiatus
in the perceptions of the BJP and the Sangh over a number
of issues. The most crucial area of disagreement centres
around the approach to power. The RSS leadership has
repeatedly cautioned the BJP that its quest for power
should not be at the cost of its 'distinctive image'.

The meeting slated for this weekend in Delhi is to be
attended by the prominent Sangh pracharaks deputed to the
BJP.

RSS joint general secretary K. C. Sudarshan recently
warned the BJP functionaries at a meeting in Bhopal
against deviations induced by power. What has particular-
ly caused serious concern in the Sangh was the unprece-
dented revolt in the Gujarat unit of the BJP and the
subsequent split.

According to highly placed RSS sources, this weekend's
meeting Is the beginning of an initiative to bring the
party under closer control of the Sangh. The pracharaks
working in the BJP are to be made directly accountable to
the Sangh and carry out the instructions of the parent
organisation.

The Sangh circles are considering a proposal that a
pracharak should lose his `exalted' wholetimer status on
being elected as an MLA or MP. The RSS leadership is
said to be of the view that it should step in to enforce
discipline and renew the Sangh ethos among the BJP func-
tionaries before further damage is done.

It has called for weeding out the 'undesirable elements'
in the BJP which refuse to embrace the Sangh values. The
RSS has reportedly brought pressure on the BJP readership
to take all the necessary steps to ensure that "Gujarat
does not happen again."

"There is absolutely no point in coming into power in a
state if our viewpoints are not reflected as much in the
policies as in the concerned partymen's style of func-
tioning," said a senior RSS leader unwilling to be quot-
ed. The timing of the meeting too has acquired signifi-
cance. The deliberations at this session are likely to
set the tone for the conclave the BJP is holding in
Maharashtra later this month.

The BJP leaders on their part have affirmed the autonomy
and full freedom of the party in deciding its destiny
while acknowledging the influence of the RSS. "Anyone
can walk into the BJP office and become a member; there

is no question of interference from any quarter," party
president L. K. Advani observed during a recent inter-
view.



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