PM candidate, Ram temple not discussed at BJP, RSS meet

New Delhi: BJP and RSS top brass today held a meeting, lasting over five hours, to discuss issues of mutual concern but the Prime Ministerial candidate and the Ram temple at Ayodhya issues did not come up during the parleys.

The high profile meeting, held at a party secretary's house on Rajdoot Marg here, was attended by BJP President Rajnath Singh, L K Advani, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, her Rajya Sabha counterparty Arun Jaitley, Murli Manohar Joshi, Ananth Kumar and General Secretary (Organisation) Ramlal.

Reuters

Reuters

RSS was represented by General Secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi, Joint General Secretary Suresh Soni, Madandas Devi, V Satish, Saudan Singh and Dattatreya Hosbole.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was in the capital today but did not attend the meeting. However, sources said he was apprised of the issues and the details of the discussion.

Though both RSS and BJP were hush-hush about the subjects discussed in the meeting, sources said the Prime Ministerial candidate issue did not come up. A section within BJP is keen that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi be declared the party's Prime Ministerial candidate to maximise its electoral
prospects.

RSS has also praised Modi but has stopped short of openly saying he should be the PM candidate.

The Hindutva agenda and Ram temple issue, which was focussed upon by VHP last week at the Maha Khumbh in Allahabad, also did not come up for discussion.

Sources described the meeting as a "routine affair".

RSS has taken strong note of the saffron terror remarks of Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and asked BJP to take up the issue inside and outside Parliament in a big way. However, there are concerns that the effort and the public response on it have both been lukewarm till date.

There is also a view with BJP that the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru has further blunted the campaign against Shinde.

RSS is keen that the Sangh Parivar outfits act in tandem with BJP during the forthcoming Assembly elections in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Delhi to improve the party's performance in the polls, sources said

Infighting and differences between BJP leaders and RSS or those leaders enjoying closer proximity to RSS, have affected BJP in polls in the recent past, they said.

PTI

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