On Monday, I met Balraj Madhok, the 90-year-old co-founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh at his house in New Rajinder Nagar. The meeting took place a day before the BJP and the Sangh observed the martydom day of Dr Shyama Prasad Mukheree and Madhok appeared very cheerful and fully alert despite his advancing years. Read more

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The recent developments within the BJP are perhaps first pointers to a split in a party started in 1980 by members of the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh with the blessings of the RSS. The party came into existence in the aftermath of the failed experiment of the Janata Party. The aim was once again to consolidate forces of hindutva.

However, as the party stands today, it has moved away from its basic ideology and a number of BJP leaders while squabbling over party posts share the opinion that the party should adopt a softer approach. In other words, the hindutva agenda goes for a six.

But somehow, the BJP without commitment to the hindutva does not seem to be acceptable to the RSS. Therefore, in a clash that is going to take place during the next few weeks, the BJP could ether end splitting or may have to finally choose the RSS line. In other words many of the top functionaries if they do not relent may find themselves marginalized as the BJP without the support of the RSS is a party which will not get support of its traditional voters.

I have been watching with great amusement the power struggle warming up in the Saffron party which has been under the stranglehold of either Atal Behari Vajpayee (now ailing) or L.K.Advani for neartly 40 years if one also takes into account the Jana Sangh years.

In the first 15 years of its existence, the Jana Sangh had 10 presidents, some of whom after disillusionment even joined the Congress. But since 1968 in the aftermath of the death of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya under mysterious circumstances, the party has had basically two main controllers, Vajpayee or Advani or their proxies with a brief period of two years in the early nineties when Murali Manohar Joshi was the party chief.

Past Jana Sangh president and one of the founders of the Jana Sangh, Balraj Madhok attributes dilution of the hindutva agenda to the way the BJP was run by Vajpayee and Advani.

The latest round of fight is within the coterie of Advani over succession and not because those who are fighting have any love lost for ideology. As a matter of fact, those who are fighting have similar views about hindutva and want the hindu card diluted. This is something which the RSS may not allow as long as the BJP is aligned with it.

The problem is that the BJP has always presented the negative aspects of hindutva before the people in the past and never the positive sides. It is like you can play Holi with mud and with Gulal but the BJP has chosen to play it with mud, the Gujarat riots were an example. It has never tried to project Swami Vivekanand or Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts in a concerted manner.

The most crucial test for the survival of the BJP in its present form may come during the meeting of its National executive on June 20. The RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is going to be in delhi and may watch the developments keenly. The BJP stands at cross roads today and if it does not fall in line with the RSS, the BJP maybe headed for a split. But who knows?

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There have been now several instances of Indians being targeted by some anti social elements in a few Australian cities. The attacks which are being defined as racial in nature have not only led to a feeling of great insecurity amongst the Indian community Down Under but could jeopardize relations between India and Australia. Read more

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In the excitement of the Lok Sabha elections, the humiliating defeat of veteran socialist leader George Fernandes has gone totally unnoticed. In fact, George who contested this time as an independent from Muzaffarpur in Bihar even lost his deposit. No one would have imagined that this would be the fate of someone who till five years ago was the convener of NDA and the third most important man in its government after Atal Behari Vajpayee and LK Advani. Read more

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