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RSS miffed over rifts in Gujarat BJP
Parag Dave in Ahmedabad | October 23, 2007 18:26 IST
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is miffed with the intense infighting going on within the Bharatiya Janata Party ranks in Gujarat and will adhere to its previous decision of not lending 'organised support' to the ruling party in the December assembly polls, a top leader has said.
"RSS is very unhappy with the infighting within the BJP," senior RSS leader Mukundrao Devbhankar told PTI, referring to the game of one-upmanship going on between veteran leader Keshubhai Patel and Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The rebellion within the party has reached such a passe that the dissidents have been organising farmers' meetings throughout the state against the state government's anti- peasant policies with the help of the Congress and are even thinking of contesting against the BJP in their campaign to oust Modi.
"This is like two grown-up sons in a family fighting, with elders being helpless who just sit back and watch," said Devbhankar, who is the RSS prant pracharak pramukh.
"Under the prevailing circumstances, we have decided not to support any group," he said.
On support to the BJP in the coming elections, Devbhankar said: "We will stick to our decision to not support any political party in an organised manner. The RSS took the decision two years back and it will be adhered to in the ensuing Gujarat polls.
"Individually, Sangh members can extend their support to anybody who they think was right," he said.
Modi had won the last election in Gujarat with the active support of RSS and its allies like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh. However, with the organisation deciding to remain aloof this time around, things might turn out be different for the BJP.
Asked if the RSS had attempted to bring the two factions in the ruling BJP on one platform, Devbhankar said: "We see no point in interfering at present. We are just keeping a watch and hope that it would get resolved soon."
The growing rift between Patel and Modi, associated with the RSS for several decades, has created a split among their supporters in the RSS, VHP and BKS.
"There is a division among the supporters of Keshubhai Patel and Narendra Modi in different organisations of the Sangh Parivar," a senior rebel leader said.
The RSS had met Patel in between on a couple of occasions to persuade him to not entertain any thought of leaving the BJP.
Recently, sadhus associated with the VHP had accused Modi of trying to divide the organisation ahead of the elections. They alleged he is offering seats to VHP functionaries. However, VHP international general secretary Pravin Togadia is considered to be against Modi.
The BKS is also a divided house with some of its members supporting Modi while others backing up Patel, rebel BJP sources said.