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Advani returns to BJP’s fold

Advani returns to BJP’s fold
The drama which unfolded on Monday afternoon, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leader LK Advani resigning from various committees of the party, finally culminated on Tuesday evening, with the veteran politician agreeing to withdraw his resignation. Though Advani had been adamant about not changing his decision, the twist in the tale came after the intervention from Rashtriya Swayammsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, who called Advani at 3 in the afternoon.

‘This afternoon, RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat spoke to  Advaniji and asked him to respect the BJP parliamentary board decision and continue to guide the party  in national interest. Advaniji has decided to accept Bhagwat’s advice,’ said BJP president Rajnath Singh, reading out from a prepared statement. Though it was the RSS which managed to broker truce, the BJP president earlier in the day said there has been no interference from the parent body on the matter.

The second day of drama began with a host of senior BJP leaders visiting Advani’s residence but the two leaders who played a key role in diffusing the crisis were former BJP president Nitin Gadkari and RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy. It is learnt it was Gadkari who first spoke to Bhagwat and raised the contentious issue of the increasing interference of RSS joint general secretary, Suresh Soni, in BJP affairs, something that has troubled both Advani and Gadkari.

Sources say that a consensus has emerged between RSS top brass and Advani for restricting the role of Suresh Soni, who has gotten a free hand after Rajnath Singh was appointed president of the party.
Leaders indicate that from now one will see a more pro-active role being played by RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi and joint general  secretary Dattatreya Hosabale  in party affairs.
Sources said one might see the same arrangement between the RSS and the BJP that was there during Gadkari’s tenure. Even in the press conference, BJP president said he had assured Advani that all his ‘concerns’ regarding functioning of the party, which he had cited as reason for quitting, would be ‘properly addressed’.

It was Soni who had acted as catalyst and even sidestepped Bhagwat in denying a second term to Gadkari as president of the party. After Gadkari became the president, Soni’s role as the pointsman between the party and the Sangh was undermined as Gadkari was in direct touch with Bhagwat, thus bypassing Soni. Also, Soni’s man Prabhat Jha was denied a second tenure as state president of Madhya Pradesh, during Gadkari’s tenure.

In the case of Advani, it was Soni again who marginalised the veteran after the Jinnah episode in 2005. Recently, despite Advani’s insistence of including Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan in the parliamentary board of the party, it was Soni who blocked this. Apart from agreeing to cut down Soni, the decision to declare the prime ministerial candidate has also been put on the back burner for some time.
Samarth Saran

Samarth Saran

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