The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mahajan tells Sangh to lay off

New Delhi, June 18: Pramod Mahajan today said the BJP’s links with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh will never be “totally severed”, but regretted that the Sangh’s intervention in the party’s affairs has grown.

The BJP general secretary suggested that the Sangh should avoid “passing comments every day” on the developments in his party. He also denied that the BJP depended heavily on the Sangh’s support to win elections.

“Nobody in the BJP will like our relations with the RSS to be totally severed,” Mahajan said. “All of us are swayamsevaks. If I sunder my relations with the RSS, it is as good as dropping my surname Mahajan.”

The former Union minister described the Sangh-BJP equation: “There is an ideological school of thought called the RSS and we are part of it. In organisational matters, we are sovereign.

“The RSS is like the sun' suppose the BJP is the earth. The earth is illuminated by the sun and the moon but the earth will rotate around itself.”

Mahajan admitted to The Telegraph: “I know I am not an RSS favourite; they will never allow me to become party president.” That did not deter him from outlining what he expects and what he does not from the Sangh headquarters in Nagpur.

Mahajan maintained that in the last 10 to 12 years, interventions from the Sangh, “at least at the level of the sarsanghchalak”, have grown.

He recalled that when M.S. Golwalkar was “sarsanghchalak”, he would often give a “direction in the national interest”. But today, the Sangh even dictates appointments to the state and district units of the BJP and lays down who should get tickets in an election.

Mahajan recalled that about a decade ago, when asked if the BJP was dictated to by the Sangh, Advani, who was party president, replied that the Sangh went by the BJP’s “political judgement”.

“The Sangh is our mother but even the umbilical cord gets severed because nature ordains that a child must move and walk on his own. So let the Sangh allow its child to walk on its own. As the mother, the Sangh should not keep scolding its child publicly and passing comments every day,” the general secretary said.

In his view, the Sangh needs “de-politicisation”.

“The Sangh should realise that a section within it wants to de-politicise it. The norm of not crossing the Lakshman rekha does not apply only to the BJP. If the RSS crosses this Lakshman rekha, it will become a political party and then the sarsanghchalak’s comparison of politics with prostitution will apply also to it.

“The real strength of the RSS and the BJP was that everyone spoke in one voice. We have lost that sense of brotherhood. Saffron is not important but brotherhood is,” he said.

Mahajan said it was a “myth” that the BJP was dependent on the Sangh in an election. “The media has perpetuated the myth that the BJP is 100 per cent dependent on the RSS.

“This may be true in certain tribal areas. I have run the BJP in Maharashtra for the last 20 years and I maintain that it is the best-run unit. There is no RSS intervention.

“If I get nine crore votes, the Sangh’s contribution will be 1 or 1.5 per cent.”

At worst, Mahajan said, in a “tough” election, the Sangh could get the BJP defeated.

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