The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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New pointman for full picture

New Delhi, Feb. 15: RSS second-in-command Mohanrao Bhagwat will now deal with the BJP along with existing pointman Madan Das Devi.

Bhagwat, a sarakaryavah (general secretary), came into focus when he met BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu and his general secretaries at a meeting at the RSS’ Delhi headquarters in Jhandewalan on February 13.

Sangh sources said Bhagwat’s was not a one-off appearance because it was decided that he would also coordinate matters with the BJP and the Centre from now on. Even if he was not present in the meetings with the BJP or its ministers, Devi would have to “get his brief” from Bhagwat before embarking on his job and first “report” to him before the “message” was conveyed to sarsanghachalak K.S. Sudarshan, they said.

The decision to involve Bhagwat in the political mainstream was taken at the instance of the RSS leader H.V. Seshadri who, according to sources, felt there was need for “more transparency” in the dealings with the BJP especially on “sensitive” matters such as Ayodhya and economic policies.

Devi had become identified with a “particular group” in the BJP and was only “reflecting their viewpoints to the Sangh”, maintained the sources.

“The messages from the BJP to Jhandewalan had become somewhat imperfect and clouded,” the sources alleged.

Bhagwat’s involvement, they said, would ensure that the RSS got a “more rounded” picture of happenings within the BJP. Bhagwat had a “uniformly good rapport” with all those who mattered in the BJP, they stressed.

A section of the Sangh, however, downplayed the development. “As the general secretary, Bhagwat is the constitutional head of the RSS and its affiliates, including the BJP,” pointed out some Sangh members.

“He is elected to the post by the pratinidhi sabha, which itself is an elected body of swayamsevaks. He presides over this apex body and all its decisions are ratified by him. Therefore, it is natural for Bhagwat to get involved with the BJP,” they said.

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