Modi PM decision not on formal agenda in RSS-BJP meet today

The issue of the 'official announcement' of Narendra Modi’s Prime Ministerial candidature will not be discussed at the two day RSS-BJP coordination committee meeting, which begins today in Delhi.

This is contrary to hype in a section of media over the issue. There was so much of speculation, both in the broadcast and in the print about the nature of this meet, that the RSS thought it prudent to officially say that “no political issue would be discussed there”, least of all the specifics of what Modi's future political role within the party.

It’s a different matter though that the RSS leadership, in the space of the last seven days, have already communicated their preference, even if they don’t wish to call it as their decision to the BJP leadership – name Modi as prime ministerial candidate and build a consensus around his name within the party.

Representational image

Representational image

The RSS’s push was particularly directed at BJP patriarch LK Advani and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, and it came from no less than the two topmost leaders, Mohan Bhagwat and Bhaiyajis Joshi. Joshi met Advani and Sushma last Sunday at Advani's Delhi residence, while Bhagwat met them three days later on Wednesday for dinner.

Sources said these leaders had a most candid chat whereby the RSS leadership told them of their positive feelings about the announcement of Modi’s Prime Ministerial candidature and the feedback that they received across the nation through their Sangh Parivar network.

Advani and Sushma on their part, sources told Firstpost, listed out their reasons as to why they felt the time was not right to announce Modi's prime ministerial candidature yet. They want the decision to be withheld at least till the conclusion of five assembly elections, which are scheduled to be held in over two months time. The meeting remained inconclusive and the issue has so far not been clinched, at least among the top BJP leaders.

The RSS is certainly inclined to see a consensus around Modi’s name built in the BJP at the earliest and an official announcement be made accordingly. But since the rather proactive persuasions made by Bhaiyaji Joshi and Mohan Bhagwat were a part of informal consultations, and not public consumption, the RSS do not want to make the issue a part of official deliberations at the two day structured meet.

Even though the RSS has been micromanaging the BJP since 2005, it still maintains that it is a social and cultural organization, which has nothing to do with politics, at least directly. It also claims that it did not have to do anything with the internal matters of the BJP and restricted itself to offering advice, only when it was actively asked for.

This prompted RSS publicity chief, Manmohan Vaidya to make a statement saying that “generally the RSS does make a briefing before such a coordination meet but since there was so much of curiosity and speculation in the media that it was decided to brief as to what was there on the agenda for the meet.” He declared this meet as routine, held twice every year in September and January for “exchange of notes and sharing of news”. The next such meeting would be held in Hyderabad in January.

Vaidya claimed that no political issues whatsoever, would be discussed there. As such a discussion on Modi’s PM nomination is a complete no-no. Modi on his part will be attending the meet only on the first day on Sunday and as per his current schedule he will return to Gandhinagar later in the evening. Mohan Bhagwat will not be there on Sunday and will join the meet only the on the day two, on Monday.

Modi has to be in Gandhinagar to attend a two-day Global Agricultural Summit at Mahatma Mandir, which begins on Monday morning. He is showcasing the state’s development in agriculture where delegates from both developed and developing countries will be participating to share their thoughts to increase productivity and variety of crops. Incidentally, a discussion on agriculture is one of the issues listed on the agenda for the RSS coordination meet.

The other issues listed for the Sangh Parivar’s meet are economic, security and social issues.

The fact that this meet was to see wider participation of BJP leaders, more than the number usually invited, had given rise to speculation that political issues, particularly in view of the coming assembly and parliamentary elections could be taken up. All BJP parliamentary Board members have been invited. However the chief ministers of BJP ruled states have not been invited as was initially thought. Modi is participating as Parliamentary Board member and not as CM.

The RSS publicity wing chief clarified that usually 20-25 persons from 13 Sangh Parivar affiliates were invited but this time the list of participant would go up to 65, of which 25 would be from the RSS and 12 from the BJP.

The issue of Modi’s elevation may not be discussed in this two-day meet, but this is surely the most crucial thing on agenda for continual round of informal consultations with the party and the Parivar.