New Delhi, June 30: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has fired another salvo at Nitish Kumar for flagging the issue of a “secular” Prime Minister for the BJP-led NDA coalition in 2014.
The Sangh used its English weekly Organiser to make its point against the Bihar chief minister, who a couple of weeks ago had indicated that Narendra Modi was neither his choice for the country’s top job nor that of his party, the Janata Dal (United).
A column written by Sangh veteran and former spokesperson M.G. Vaidya, titled Who is secular? And what is secularism?, questioned Nitish’s “haste” in forcing the prime ministerial issue on the BJP and said: “If he wants to sever his party’s ties with the NDA, he can do it, any time.”
In normal circumstances, Vaidya’s thoughts may not have made news because he has always been known to speak his mind, even against the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Besides, once RSS sarsanghchalak Mohanrao Bhagwat took Modi’s side, the “parivar” took the cue and knew whom it should bat for.
Vaidya’s column was interesting because his son Manmohan Vaidya has had an acrimonious relationship with Modi, according to Sangh insiders.
Manmohan, who is the RSS’s national prachar pramukh (chief propagandist), had been based in Gujarat till a few years ago. However, sources said, once Modi was “convinced” he was in cahoots with long-time rival Sanjay Joshi in destabilising him as chief minister, he worked on the RSS to shunt him out, which it did.
Manmohan shuttles between Nagpur and Delhi.
Vaidya senior ostensibly didn’t allow his paternal considerations to influence his stand on the Nitish-Modi face-off.
“Why did Nitish raise the issue of the PM just now? The LS elections are two years away…. Why is Nitish in such a haste? If he wants to sever his party’s ties with the NDA, he can do it, any time. Even now his party has chalked out a different path for the presidential poll,” Vaidya said.
He argued that if Nitish had prime ministerial ambitions, he was free to pursue them. He was also free to “amuse” himself with his “personal opinion” about Modi. “But what is the meaning of pressurising (the) BJP to declare its PM candidate? And why should (the) BJP oblige him?” Vaidya asked.
He said that if Nitish wished to canvass for a “secular” Prime Minister, the RSS sarsanghchalak was equally at liberty to say that the next Prime Minister could be a Hindutva adherent.
His contention was the secular-communal debate itself was “uncalled for” because “no individual is secular unless he is an atheist”.