The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Atal buys truce with Sangh

New Delhi, Oct. 24: After an attack by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Brajesh Mishra and the Prime Minister’s Office, Atal Bihari Vajpayee today decided to buy peace with the RSS and its allied outfits. He assured that the government and the BJP would “consult” them on all issues of national importance much more frequently.

The Sangh parivar-government truce was called after a two-and-a-half-hour meeting this evening at the Prime Minister’s residence which was attended by K.S. Sudarshan, Madan Das Devi and H.V. Seshadri of the RSS and deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu.

Devi, who coordinates with the government and the BJP, said: “On all issues relating to national security, cross-border terrorism, infiltration, internal security, protecting national interest and others of public importance, there will be frequent dialogue between the organisations concerned and the party (the BJP) and the government.”

While he said the meeting did not refer to “specific issues or organisations”, he stressed that the BJP and the government would be talking to “all nationalist organisations”.

This means that the BJP and the government will from now on deal not just with the RSS but the VHP, Swadeshi Jagran Manch and the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, depending on the context. These outfits were unhappy at being “ignored” by the government.

Devi indicated that the government could no longer trifle with “nationalist sentiments” and overlook the Sangh and its allies with only two years to go before the next Lok Sabha election.

“There are national issues which impinge directly on people’s sentiments. The government has completed three years in office but it will have to seriously think about the remaining two years now. No doubt the government will be run on the basis of its agreed agenda but at the same time, people’s feelings will have to be kept in mind. Therefore, a dialogue with all the organisations on all issues can arrive at solutions,” he said.

RSS sources had said earlier that its leaders would cite the Jammu election debacle as an example to “prove” how the BJP would have to bite the dust if it continued taking the Sangh “lightly”.

The sources said decisions like withdrawing troops from the border bothered them because it gave the impression that India was acting under “overseas pressure”.

Naidu described the outcome of the meeting thus: “We have decided to understand and respect each other’s points of view and avoid criticisms through continuous interaction. This can be done by talking to the various organisations.”

He added: “Wherever there is disagreement, we will try to mutually respect each other’s viewpoint.”

Asked if today’s truce will put an end to attacks of the kind the VHP had been indulging in, Naidu’s reply was cryptic: “It is understood.”

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