New Delhi: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, the main opposition in Parliament, has drawn up a revival plan for the party that includes a new leadership and the intake of more members from its cadres.
BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said on Sunday there would not be any immediate change in leadership but Rajnath Singh would not get a second term as party president as the BJP constitution does not permit it. Singh’s tenure ends in December. L.K. Advani would continue as the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, he said.
Clearing the mess: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. Manpreet Romana / AFP
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, after 16 meetings over three days with BJP leaders such as Advani and Singh, said the party would “rise from the ashes”.
“It is now more or less clear that none of the present leadership who are part of the crisis would be asked to lead the party,” an RSS leader said, asking not to be named. “It could be someone non-controversial and with some proven track record, may be also from the state leadership.”
Following a string of controversies after the BJP expelled veteran Jaswant Singh over his book on Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, Bhagwat had said on Friday the average age for RSS’ leadership was 50-60, and it was for the BJP to decide on the right age for its leadership. Several BJP leaders are over that age; Advani, its most senior leader, is 81.
The RSS plan is as per the recommendations of a five-member committee it had set up soon after the BJP’s defeat in the general election in May.
The plan will now be discussed during a three-day core group meeting of the RSS in Haridwar, starting on 1 September, and to be concluded at its national executive meeting in Rajgir, Bihar, on 13-15 October. A clear road map for the BJP will be unveiled at its national executive meeting.
“For BJP today, RSS is like (what) 10 Janpath is for Congress. They have no other option but to fall back on them (RSS) for existence,” said Jyotirmaya Sharma, professor of political science at Hyderabad university. 10 Janpath is the official residence of Sonia Gandhi, president of the Congress party.
“After Vajpayee, and to some extent even Advani, there is no one in the BJP able enough to keep the RSS at arm’s length. The RSS has a clear vision of complete control over the party now,” Sharma said.
Meanwhile, summoned by the party leadership, Vasundhara Raje will on Monday meet senior leader M. Venkaiah Naidu, who has been appointed the pointsman to defuse the crisis sparked after Singh asked Raje to resign as leader of opposition in the Rajasthan assembly following the party’s defeat in assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
(‘PTI’ contributed to this story.)