RSS wants L K Advani to take over role of Atal Bihari Vajpayee

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NAGPUR: BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani had a grumpy look when he landed in Nagpur in the morning for his scheduled daylong parley with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and his deputy Bhaiyyaji Joshi. The Advani that returned to New Delhi in the evening sported a pleasant face and had a relaxed look.

At the airport in the morning, Advani did not even give out his perfunctory namaste. In the evening, he was waving enthusiastically to the BJP and RSS cadre during a visit to the ancestral home of RSS founder KB Hedgewar, near the RSS headquarters in the Mahal area. He had two close-door meetings with the RSS chief and his deputy against the backdrop of intense speculation that a strong section in the RSS favours felt it was time the BJP veterans started yielding to Narendra Modi-Rajnath Singh tandem. TOI learns that the Sangh wants him to play the role of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and a facilitator for talks with other political parties.

Dilip Deodhar, a keen observer of RSS affairs, claimed that the meeting broadly agreed on the strategy of not playing up the Hindutva card in the next elections. At the same time, the Sangh parivar was hoping that the ant-Modi bogey being raised by the Congress and its allies would boomerang on them and help the BJP in consolidating the Hindu vote.

“The RSS is confident that the Modi brand of development politics would carry the party to victory in 2014 elections. However, it wants Advani to work for wining friends in other parties in case support is needed to form the government. Advani would be playing the role of Vajpayee and there is a definite effort to recreate the atmospherics that prevailed during 1977 when the first non-Congress combination won elections in the country for the first time,” said Deodhar.

Advani himself did not take any questions but declared while on his way to the airport that he had a “fruitful discussion”. “It was mostly on the coming elections in five states later this year and the Lok Sabha elections next year,” he said, adding that he will do his best for the party “which was united and planning for a decisive win”.

Senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi’s visit on Thursday followed by that of Advani on Friday and party president Rajnath Singh scheduled to arrive on Saturday, made it clear that the RSS was trying to firm up its grip on the BJP which presented a picture of a party in disarray with Advani’s revolt last month over the prime role in elections allotted to Gujarat CM Narendra Modi. As reported by TOI, these visits also come at a time when former BJP national president Nitin Gadkari is on a tour of Europe.

The RSS spokesman as well as Advani tried to underplay the talks stating it was part of continuing process of interaction. But Advani went a step ahead and said, “You will see the impact of these talks in the coming days.”

Meanwhile, in yet another indication of the proactive role that the RSS is adopting for a political change, it will be holding a three-day brainstorming session for top 250 members of the parivar at Amravati, 150km from here, on July 11, 12, 13. Three days before that the top RSS functionaries will meet to plan out the strategies, at the same place.

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