BJP faces RSS ire for not reining in allies

BJP faces RSS ire for not reining in allies

New Delhi: The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is facing criticism from its ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), for not reining in alliance partners, especially the Janata Dal (United) or JD(U)-led government in Bihar.

The RSS says the leadership of the Hindu nationalist party failed to stop Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar from allocating land for the Aligarh Muslim University’s extension campus in Kishanganj. The RSS said there was no need for a campus in the Muslim-dominated district. “Our view is that steps like this are aimed at winning over a few votes and we do not subscribe to it," said RSS national executive member and spokesperson Ram Madhav. “Beyond this, the RSS has nothing to say. It’s for the BJP to take a political decision on issues."

The issue may backfire on the BJP if Kumar uses it as a political plank against his allies. The BJP’s legislative support is crucial for the JD(U) government in Bihar.

“If this issue gains momentum, it could not only put the BJP in a difficult situation in the rest of the country and the state, it means a major plank for Nitish Kumar to go to the people with" if his ally withdraws support, said B.G. Verghese, political analyst and visiting professor, Centre for Policy Research.

The displeasure was expressed at the Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal conclave of the RSS that was held at Rajgir in Bihar and ended on 11 October. “The issue could be addressed separately," said BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was present at the Rajgir conclave. He admitted that the matter was “flagged" at the meeting.

RSS leaders pointed out that the BJP government led by Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh had blocked the Union government’s move to establish such a campus in the state. “But the party could not do anything when it came to Bihar," said an RSS leader, who did not want to be identified. The BJP students’ wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, has been vehemently protesting against the Kishanganj campus.

The JD(U) has 88 seats in the Bihar assembly while the BJP has 54 in the 243-member legislature. The state is scheduled to go to the polls towards the end of next year.