New Delhi, June 23: The Sangh parivar has indicated it would pursue a dual strategy while handling the JD(U); the RSS would rachet up the response when there was a provocation from the JD(U), especially on Narendra Modi.
On the other hand, the BJP would calibrate its reflexes. Sources said central leaders would play “peacemaker” and try to keep the alliance intact while Bihar cadres would be allowed to react a little more stridently without jeopardising the pact with Nitish Kumar.
Evidence that the strategy was operationalised was glimpsed in Patna yesterday. The BJP workers, who protested against the Centre on price rise and corruption, also raised slogans praising Modi.
Modi, who remains a source of distress for Nitish, was expected to behave as though there was calm in the eye of the storm.
The JD(U) apparently got the sense that the RSS or the BJP would not take attacks or even pot-shots at their leaders stoically or look the other way if a colleague of Nitish batted for the UPA.
A day after JD(U) general secretary Shivanand Tiwari urged the BJP to back Pranab Mukherjee for President and defended the UPA’s economic policies, party president Sharad Yadav clarified that no leader or representative should speak out without his or Nitish’s consent.
The underlying message to the BJP was that Tiwari’s eulogy on Mukherjee was “unilateral” but few in the BJP were persuaded by Yadav’s claim. Yadav, who spoke to the Delhi media today, emphasised that the NDA was one, that support to Mukherjee did not mean endorsement of the UPA, and cross-party backing for a presidential nominee was not without precedent.
Yadav’s clarifications came after a senior BJP leader spoke to the Bihar chief minister. The leader reportedly sought a status report on the alliance and a statement on whether Nitish intended snapping ties with them in the foreseeable future. He was assured the JD(U) would not.
“It is a question of the party. Neither my writ nor Nitish’s is absolute. We take collective decisions and the decision is that our alliance with the BJP stays and the NDA is united,” Yadav told The Telegraph.
But he added that there was no place for the RSS’s brand of politics in the coalition.
Yadav was invited as the chief guest to an event on the anniversary of the Emergency on June 25 by the Deendayal Research Institute. He said he would not go. “My name is unnecessarily dragged into such events. Why should I grace an RSS event?”
Rajkumar Bhatia, a member of the RSS’s propaganda department who was the evening’s moderator, said the institute “belonged to the Sangh family”. Bhatia added that Lohiaites like Yadav were as much part of the “struggle” against the Emergency as the RSS that regards it as its equivalent of the freedom movement.
If RSS sarsanghachalak Mohanrao Bhagwat nuanced his disapproval of Nitish’s call for a “secular” Prime Minister, which amounted to nullifying Modi as a prospective candidate, an editorial in the RSS’s latest Hindi mouthpiece, Panchjanya, contained a categorical deprecation.