The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sangh can’t part Arjun, PM

New Delhi, Aug. 11: Stubbing out rumours that the RSS was coming between him and the Prime Minister, Arjun Singh today said he had “absolutely” no differences with Manmohan Singh and those spreading such stories were “enemies” of the government.

“Absolutely not. I have no differences with the honourable Prime Minister on dealing with the RSS. The common minimum programme has been adopted by all parties of the UPA and he is our head,” the human resource development minister said at the end of the education advisory board meeting.

Speculation has been spiralling of late that Arjun’s call to purge the administration of RSS elements had not found favour with Manmohan. Whispers that Arjun was trying to undercut Manmohan’s authority by refusing to budge had also started doing the rounds.

Some had even begun to see the Left banking on Arjun to keep the RSS in check as it had done after the Babri Masjid demolition. In 1992-93, it had considered him a possible replacement for then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.

“Those who spread such information are not the well-wishers of either me, him or this government. They are enemies,” Arjun said.

Congress media department chairperson Girija Vyas, too, denied differences.

Although Arjun set at rest noises that he was out to undermine Manmohan and find a bigger role for himself in the Congress, the RSS remained in his gunsight. He refused to backtrack from his stand that Sangh elements should be weeded out of government.

Service rules did not allow government employees to be part of any political party and the RSS, in its guise of a social organisation, was covertly pushing people into Parliament, he said.

“A large number of people are coming into Parliament with RSS blessings. The RSS, however, claims it is not a political party but a social organisation.”

Hitting out at the Sangh for staging a “backdoor entry” into politics, he demanded that it participate in the poll process instead. “You register yourself as a political party with the Election Commission and then abide by its model code of conduct.”

Arjun also lashed out at leaders of the former NDA government for crowing about their RSS links. “Former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee on one occasion said he was proud to be an RSS volunteer.

“His deputy, L.K. Advani, had tried to allow government employees to be part of the RSS. Government servants can’t be RSS members.”

Congress sources said the RSS-purge proposal could be included in a resolution to be placed before the AICC at its Delhi session on August 21. Arjun heads the nine-member panel tasked to draft it.

Arjun will, however, not be able to push through the proposal minus the Prime Minister’s sanction. Manmohan heads the super drafting committee that will vet and give the final nod to all political, economic, foreign affairs and panchayati raj resolutions.

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