The Telegraph
Tuesday , July 8 , 2014

Sangh lends Shah backing and key aides

Shah and Madhav

New Delhi, July 7: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has endorsed Amit Shah’s elevation as the next BJP president, Sangh and party sources have said.

A weekend meeting of Sangh seniors at Mohankheda in Madhya Pradesh endorsed Shah’s elevation, they added, and an announcement could come in the “next two days”.

A signal that Shah is expected to bring about “big” changes in the party came in the Sangh’s decision to depute two pracharaks (whole-timers), Ram Madhav and Shiv Prakash, to its political progeny. It seems Shah wanted both of them in his team.

“I have been deputed to the BJP. I will know what my responsibilities are once the new team takes shape,” said Madhav, who was joint national chief of the Sangh’s outreach wing and its spokesperson.

Madhav’s Twitter site has declared his transfer from the Sangh’s Keshav Kunj office in Delhi to the BJP’s Ashoka Road headquarters in two words: “Join BJP”.

He has deleted his older tweets, the last of which had shared the flood concerns expressed in Assam over the building of an upstream dam on the Lower Subansiri. Madhav stressed that the concerns, also aired by the Assam BJP, had to be addressed with the help of experts.

Madhav, formerly a student of engineering and political science, has been associated with the Sangh since childhood. He plunged into its activities full-time in the ’80s. He is likely to replace Ramlal as the general secretary (organisation).

The post carries weight in the BJP because the incumbent is tasked to work closely with the Sangh. Ramlal is expected to return to the Sangh.

Belying the popular perception of a pracharak as a man who thinks and functions in a time warp, Madhav is in sync with contemporary political requirements.

He has travelled widely and has picked China and the Islamic countries as his areas of focus. He is the director of the India Foundation, a Delhi-based think tank that invited Narendra Modi in February this year to address corporate bosses.

In his speech, Modi had suggested setting up foreign desks in the states so that their governments could deal directly with overseas investors instead of routing their business through the Centre.

Shiv Prakash, a low-key Sangh official unknown to many in the BJP, had started off as a grassroots volunteer in Uttar Pradesh and risen to become the Sangh’s regional pracharak in the state’s western belt.

A native of Thakurdwara near Moradabad, Prakash is believed to have helped Shah in the western districts before the Lok Sabha elections. Modi and current BJP president Rajnath Singh had put Shah, a party general secretary, in charge of the heartland state.

Sources said that Prakash’s “diligence”, knowledge of Uttar Pradesh, and connectivity with party workers had so impressed Shah that he had insisted the Sangh “loan” him to the party. Prakash is likely to become a joint general secretary (organisation).

In the past, the Sangh had “given away” several successful pracharaks to the BJP. Prominent among them were K.N. Govindacharya, Sanjay Joshi and Modi himself.

Modi has now made it to the top while Govindacharya, who once out-dazzled him, fell by the wayside after getting into Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s bad books. Joshi, who antagonised Modi, too is out of favour.

Among the less illustrious pracharaks transferred to the BJP were several former editors of Sangh mouthpieces Organiser and Panchjanya: Seshadri Chari, Tarun Vijay and R. Balashankar.