Gadkari issue continues to roil RSS

FP

For the secretive organisation, its increasing power over the BJP and micro-management of its affairs comes with a downside: it is being forced to face up to the responsibility—and the brickbats—for the party's decisions and predicaments. At the RSS's just-concluded annual Akhil Bharatiya Karyakarini Mandal Baithak in Chennai, the ferment in the cadres was apparent. According to sources in Chennai, what was also obvious was that top echelons of the RSS, especially the influential group of seniors hailing from Nagpur headed by Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat, are still resisting the spreading sullenness on the question of Gadkari. It is being seen as significant that on the final day of the meet, Bhagwat chose to hold a parallel meeting on Gadkari, instead of participating in the formal office-bearers' conclave held to discuss the same matter.

The Sarsanghchalak would appear to subscribe to the view of a section of Sangh seniors that removing Gadkari at this stage would be seen as a loss of face and an admission of guilt by the RSS leadership. And isn't Gadkari a victim of the machinations by wily colleagues in the BJP and/or the Congress, they counter. The conspiracy theory, these seniors know, is bound to strike a chord in an organisation that revels in them. Even those who feel that Gadkari must step down as party president, however, may be inclined to give the Sangh loyalist an "honourable" exit. For the RSS, it is always a slow burn to the decisive moment. Its ethos rules out a quick decision taken in the heat of the controversy, whose fallout may be unpredictable or difficult to manage. Unfortunately for the RSS, this time, it may not have the luxury to set its own pace. Some dates are pressing: November 22, when the winter session of Parliament begins, when the BJP will want to put the Congress on the mat again on corruption; and December 20, when the Gujarat election results will be out, which will also be a pointer to the force of Narendra Modi's much talked-about bid to take over the party ahead of 2014.

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