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RSS irked over shelving of temple, Article 370 issues

RSS irked over shelving of temple, Article 370 issues

The Times of India
April 14, 2000
Title: RSS irked over shelving of temple, Article 370 issues
Author: The Times of India News Service
Publication: The Times of India
Date: April 14, 2000

The growing indiscipline within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the shelving of core issues like the Ayodhya temple and scrapping of Article 370 have started worrying the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The Sangh's unhappiness on this score is abundantly reflected in the latest issue of its mouthpiece Panchajanya.

Devoted to the 20th anniversary of the founding of the BJP, the journal in Hindi has lauded the party's growth over the past two decades, but it has also taken a critical look at its policies and performance. The journal has not only deprecated indiscipline in an article but questioned party president Kushabhau Thakre on it in an interview.

"Indiscipline in the organisation is growing day by day, like the cross-voting in Uttar Pradesh recently. What would you say about it?" the journal asked Mr. Thakre. In another question, it asked Mr. Thakre, "What steps is your organisation taking to end this kind of indiscipline?"

Mr. Thakre admitted cross-voting in U.P. was an issue of concern for the BJP, but said it has become necessary to seriously consider "the kind of challenges we have to face in U.P" On indiscipline, Mr. Thakre said he did not think disciplinary action alone would be the answer. The challenge before the party, he said, s& as larger. "Those who have come to the BJP, are in a way from a society that is before us, that society is polluted, and it is in that society that we have to work, entrench ourselves."

If Mr. Thakre evaded a direct answer by talking about "larger challenges" in U.R, Panchajanya brought up Ayodhya and Article 370 - which, it said, the BJP had left out when forming the National Democratic Alliance government - and forthrightly asked, "Have you put them in cold-storage, or will you raise them again?"

Mr. Thakre said that if the BJP put these core issues aside, other allies too, did the same. Indeed, some points from the BJP agenda, like making India a nuclear power, or creating separate states of Vananchal and Uttaranchal, were accepted by other allies. "So, will you raise those issues again?" persisted Panchajanya. "In my view, instead of worrying about tomorrow's meal, we should be thinking about today's dinner," responded Mr. Thakre.

In its article, Panchajanya was unsparing. If the BJP's growth over the past two decades was "immense", it said, its loss of idealism and ideology needed to be addressed. It refuted arguments of "difficulties, limits and aberrations of the present political set-up" and wondered whether whatever possible within the present set-up is being done. "Uttar Pradesh holds the mirror."

It slammed the BJP for factionalism and acrimony, and said the party had obviously failed to ensure that "idealism and responsible behaviour" percolated down to the lowest rung. It was particularly harsh on those in the BJP "aspiring to become an MP without having done organisational work", those MPs aspiring to become ministers and those ministers who hankered after "powerful and fruitful portfolios".

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