Vaidya vs Vaidya: How the BJP is caught in a bind

It can't get worse for RSS ideologue Madhav Govind Vaidya.

Hours after hitting the headlines, suggesting that Naredra Modi was the mastermind behind the unseat-Nitin-Gadkari campaign, his son Manmohan Vaidya had to issue a two-line clarification on behalf of the RSS that the views expressed by Vaidya senior in no way represents the official view of the RSS.

As irony would have it, Manmohan Vaidya holds the position of Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramuk, a rough equivalent to head of media cell, thus it was incumbent on him to issue an official clarification against his father, albeit at the behest of the top functionaries of the saffron outfit. The two line statement issued by Vaidya junior said “the views expressed in Shri MG Vaidya ji's weekly blog “Bhasya” published on Nov 11, Sunday are his own. It does not represent the official position of the RSS.”

 Vaidya vs Vaidya: How the BJP is caught in a bind

Has Vaidya's blog post opened a can of worms for the BJP? Image courtesy MG Vaidya's blog Bhasya.

If that was not enough, the man to whom Vaidya Sr sought to favour in his article, Gadkari, also publicly came out with a statement denouncing him for insinuations against Modi as “totally unfounded” and reiterating that he supported the Gujarat Chief Minister. It is interesting to note that Gadkari, in the opening sentence of his statement introduced Vaidya Sr as a “senior journalist “, not as an RSS ideologue or anything linked to the organisation.

“The writer has tried to link recent comments by one of the Party MPs with Narendra Modi. The BJP completely rejects such insinuations, as it is totally unfounded. All central leaders of the party and its Chief Ministers have been working cohesively and unitedly for the cause of the Party. BJP is firmly and unitedly behind Modi,” Gadkari's statement said.

The unfolding developments are a clear pointer to the fact that Narendra Modi simultaneously generates awe and apprehension, not just outside the BJP but also within his parent ideological fountainhead, the RSS.

However, MG Vaidya’s blog, that almost called Modi a conspirator working to have Gadkari removed from the BJP's top organisational post to fulfill his prime ministerial ambitions, suggests that a section within the Sangh Parivar, however insignificant they might be, is not comfortable with the Gujarat Chief Minister's non-negotiable and individualistic style of working.

Manmohan Vaidya, could have suffered double ignominy today while issuing that clarification. Vaidya Jr had earlier been RSS Prant Pracharak in Gujarat, considered to be a strong position in the respective state Sanghs. An insider pointed out, that in the past too he had often ended up in conflicts of opinion with Modi. He was ultimately removed from Gujarat at Modi’s behest and was shifted to Chennai, and then to his current position of Prachar Pramukh. He had earlier supported Gadkari, calling the allegations of dubious business practices, a media trial

A Sangh insider said if anyone in media takes MG Vaidya as representative of the RSS, then the person has no idea of changed equations. According to the insider, he does not hold any position in the RSS. He had indeed been a member of RSS executive committee and was the spokesman, in the past. But now he neither holds a position nor can he influence decision making.

Vaidya Sr used to write a weekly in RSS’s Nagpur based mouthpiece Tarun Bharat, but many a time his articles appeared to be critical of the BJP leadership. The Tarun Bharat management, apparently at the behest of the RSS leadership, stopped publishing his articles in the paper.

Vaidya had said, “the roots of the campaign against Nitin Gadkari have to be in Gujarat because when Ram Jethmalani demanded Gadkari’s resignation, he also demanded that Narendra Modi be made the prime ministerial candidate of the party. Modi himself seems to have strong prime ministerial ambitions because LK Advani and Nitin Gadkari have already said that they are not in the race for the PM. But Narendra Modi has still not said anything on this issue.”

“Narendra Modi might have felt that Gadkari as the BJP president will hamper his chances of becoming the Prime Minster. He is using Jethmalani to fulfil his plans,” Vaidya had charged in his blog.

His charges do raise the question: does Gadkari’s continuance as party president hamper Modi’s rise to the highest postion in BJP and consequently his Prime Ministerial ambitions?

Gadkari had recently patched up with Modi after suffering a severe embarrassment on the issue of the expulsion of Sanjay Joshi from the party's leadership. Since then, he has also been to Gujarat twice. Modi is well-liked by the rank and file of BJP, so his ascendance as and when it comes could not have been curtailed by Gadkari. The issue of greater concern for the party is how much the controversy around Gadkari has damaged the party image in popular perception,  and whether Modi will allow him to campaign in Gujarat.

As the debate on Modi’s potential position in national politics post the Gujarat elections rages, Vaidya’s “personal opinion” has further stirred the pot. It is sure to provide some ammunition to the rival political groups including the Congress, when they are looking hard for substantive talking points against Modi.

Updated Date: Nov 12, 2012 17:03:38 IST