The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sangh boss in capital comeback

New Delhi, Sept. 27: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief K.S. Sudarshan has decided to end his two-year self-imposed exile from the capital instead of confining himself to the Nagpur headquarters and other places.

In what is being seen as a “welcome back” reception, the Delhi RSS has planned to organise a shubha agaman (auspicious welcome) for Sudarshan on October 2.

The Sangh has proposed to invite the capital’s “thinking class” for an interactive session with the RSS chief during which Sudarshan is expected to spell out his views on how “challenges” facing the country should be handled.

Sudarshan had returned to the capital when the controversy over the disinvestment of HPCL-BPCL was raging. The RSS’ opposition to the divestment plan played a role in shaping the government’s decision to defer a settlement by three months.

RSS sources were, however, quick to clarify that Sudarshan’s presence in Delhi would not spell trouble for the government. The sources added that the general secretary in charge of the Sangh’s political cell, Madan Das Devi, would continue being its main interface with the government and the BJP.

“The sarsanghachalak’s post has a lot of sanctity. His word on any matter is taken as the final one. So naturally, Sudarshan would not intervene on each and every issue unless it is very critical,” the sources maintained.

Sudarshan had shifted to Nagpur because after becoming the chief, he made negative statements on government policies and was also critical of certain senior members in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

It was felt that Sudarshan’s “interventions” were hampering the government’s working, especially in the economic and business sectors. He was advised by veteran RSS members to stay away from the capital for some time. Since then, for the past two years, Sudarshan has been barely seen or heard.

Sangh sources said Sudarshan finally decided to make up with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and not subject him or the government to any discomfiture. A statement he issued on the Gandhinagar temple siege reflected the changed mindset in that he toed the official line and blamed Pakistan for the attack instead of local Muslims. Sudarshan also counselled restraint.

“It will be a fatal mistake if Pakistan thinks that it can realise its monstrous designs of swallowing Kashmir by indulging in such reprehensible acts in different parts of India. Let it also realise that it will have to pay a heavy price for this sooner than later,” Sudarshan said.

While it was “natural” for the nation to express its “hurt feelings”, this should be done “through democratic means only and in such a way that it would demolish the evil machinations of Pakistan to spread unrest all over the country”, he added.

The Sangh’s militant wing, the VHP, however, went on the front foot and castigated the Vajpayee-led government for not doing enough to tackle terrorism. VHP vice-president Acharya Giriraj Kishore demanded war on Pakistan and called for a “liberal” issuing of arms licences to people and temple staff.

“The attack on Parliament, the Raghunath temple in Jammu and now the Akshardham temple has proved that this government has not only failed to check terrorism but is also not competent to deal with it,” he alleged.

The BJP has had to deal with similar views expressed by its own members at its national executive meeting yesterday. But sources dismissed Kishore’s rantings as “predictable”, and said: “Sangh cadre do need a forum to express what they really feel about the attack and the VHP is one.”

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