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Madhya Pradesh: Internal Feuds

The party of differences


BJP-RSS differences are boiling over in the state
RAJU KUMAR | Issue Dated: September 23, 2012, New Delhi
Tags : shiv raj singh | madhya pradesh goverment | rss | blp |

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan is a troubled man these days, what with the state BJP earning the sobriquet of the party of differences. The reason for this is the festering rift between the BJP and parent body RSS in the state, which seems to have finally boiled over. With Assembly elections looming large, these troubles will make BJP's bid to return for a third consecutive term next November an uphill task.

The party was forced to face realities when more than 200 RSS cadres went on the rampage in Indore, shouting anti-BJP slogans, burning effigies and vandalising the BJP party office. Rarely have BJP-RSS differences spilled out of hand as they have done here. Reactions from both sides were knee jerk. Senior Sangh leaders went on record to say that children who had become too unruly needed to be disciplined. However, many RSS workers believe that the outburst was a reaction of the grass root workers to the self-centred policies of the BJP government and organisation.

It bears mention here that the inherent differences and the tension with the RSS was brought to fore following the shooting of Manoj Parman, a known criminal and confidante of state Industry Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya. BJP MLA Sudarshan Gupta, RSS activists Vipin Gandhi, Gopal Goyal and Chotu Mittal were charged with attempt to murder in the incident. Then senior BJP leader Sumitra Mahajan had strongly criticised the government, alleging that criminals were being shielded in the city.

The unrest precipitated when Additional Superintendent of Police Rakesh Singh, the officer-in-charge of the investigation, was transferred. It did not help the RSS-BJP equation when despite the uproar, the government stood behind the transfer.

To make matters worse, trade unions in the state, also considered the BJP's vote bank, have opposed the violence. They claim that the  long rope that anti-social elements are being given is posing a threat to the traders and merchants. They say that extortion and land grabbing have become a routine.

Says senior journalist Lajjashankar Hardeniya, “The reason behind the rift is not ideological. The RSS feels that the BJP could not have come into power without their support. So, they should be calling the shots. On the other hand, the BJP leadership feels that the RSS should not interfere in the political workings of the party. This may hurt the party in the long run.”

Meanwhile, BJP's opponents, out of power for many years, are already smelling blood. Predicts state Congress president Kantilal Bhuria: “The Indore incident makes the animosity between the Sangh and the BJP clear. Incidents like this will occur more often now.”

Bhuria's words might not be entirely misplaced. If the party is not able to sort out its differences, 2013 might see it being thrown out of the state. 

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017