The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani to tap Sangh chief for VHP truce

New Delhi, Sept. 30: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and human resources development minister Murli Manohar Joshi are likely to meet RSS sarsanghchalak K.S. Sudarshan this week and seek his mediation to repair the government’s relations with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

The RSS leadership is expected to meet here probably on Thursday to take stock of the threats posed to the Centre not just by the VHP but by other Sangh constituents like the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM). The BMS and the SJM have threatened to launch separate movements to corner the government on disinvestment and other economic reforms.

The three-pronged attack —from the VHP, the BMS and the SJM — may destabilise the Vajpayee dispensation, the RSS reportedly fears.

It is learnt that Sudarshan —who resurfaced in the capital after an extended stay in Nagpur — would use his “good offices” to prevail upon these constituents to tone down their attack. “The sarsanghchalak is the only person who the leaders of these wings would listen to because he has kept himself aloof from the BJP’s factional politics and the power struggle within the government,” said RSS sources.

Matters came to a boil when VHP working president Ashok Singhal berated Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at a press conference in Lucknow last Saturday.

Singhal alleged that Vajpayee’s decisions had damaged the BJP gravely and that he had “hurt” Hindu sentiment by opposing the VHP bandh in Gujarat after the temple attack.

Singhal added that Vajpayee was unable to tackle terrorism because of “foreign pressure”, and had not lifted a finger for the Ram temple.

The BJP, which did not defend Vajpayee when the VHP had trained its guns on him last March on the mandir issue, has reacted sharply to Singhal’s diatribe this time round.

Party president M. Venkaiah Naidu said in a statement issued from Ranchi on Sunday that “with due respect to Singhalji, I have to state that the BJP completely disagrees with his criticism of the PM on the issues of Ayodhya, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir and the fight against terrorism”.

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