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IPO success unites Swadeshi factions, BJP

BS Political Bureau in New Delhi | March 10, 2004 12:30 IST

Buoyed by the success of initial public offers of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and GAIL, the Rashtirya Swaymsewak Sangh-backed Swadeshi Jagran Manch has found a common ground with the Bharatiya Janata Party on expanding the base of retail investors for the divestment process.

This convergence of interests between both the feuding constituents of the Sangh Parivar assumes significance in view of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The Swadeshi faction of the Sangh Parivar says the oversubscription of the public offers has vindicated its stance that public offers are preferable to the strategic sale.

Even Petroleum Minister Ram Naik is learnt to have conveyed to the top leadership that the manner in which shares of the ONGC were oversubscribed was an endorsement of his view. SJM convener Murlidhar Rao said the Manch always favoured public offers.

For a change, the government leadership is also in no mood to dispute the Swadeshi faction's logic as it will create tension on the eve of the polls.

That the BJP is not inclined to afford the hostility of any constituents of the Parivar will be aptly demonstrated by the party's vision document, which will try to maintain a balance between globalisation and the RSS concept of economic nationalism. A top BJP leader said the party would focus on developing the "economic clusters" by promoting indigenous industries.

Those drafting the vision document will stress on promoting economic clusters and cottage industries to give fillip to indigenous growth instead of relying on the foreign money.

The move to maintain the balance has been necessitated by the Swadeshi faction's threat that it reserved the right to oppose the BJP's pronouncements on the reforms if it did not conform to the economic nationalism concept of the RSS.

Obviously, the BJP is worried over the possibility of the RSS-SJM-BMS combine striking a discordant note on the crucial economic issues before the elections as it will harm the party's electoral prospects.

A senior party leader said the vision document would be drafted in a manner that it accommodated the Swadeshi view while adhering to the agenda of globalisation and economic reforms steadfastly.

The oversubscription of ONGC and GAIL shares proved to be a turning point in improving relations between the Swadeshi faction and the BJP for the time being.

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