GAMES GOVINDACHARYA PLAYS 

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By FROM RADHIKA RAMASESHAN
  • Published 4.07.01
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New Delhi, July 4 :    New Delhi, July 4:  The question they are now asking in BJP circles is: where is K.N. Govindacharya? Nobody has a clue. The former party ideologue went on a two-year sabbatical to distance himself from the Centre's fast-track economic policies, the BJP's factional politics and, also, controversies. But when controversies refused to die down, veteran RSS leader Madan Das Devi "advised" him to "lie low" and not speak to the media for a while, according to BJP sources. Govindacharya followed the advice to the T and disappeared. On June 28, though, he wrote a letter to BJP president K. Jana Krishnamurthi from Prayag in Allahabad, saying he would not attend the national executive slated to be held on July 19 and 20 in Amritsar. But after that, Govindacharya was not found in Allahabad. In the letter, he mentioned that he would go into "ekantavaas (seclusion)" and observe "maun vrata (complete silence)" for three months. His confidants have no problem with that so long as they know where the leader is. BJP sources said Uttar Pradesh chief minister Rajnath Singh was asked to discreetly check on his whereabouts with the help of the CID and police. Varanasi MP Shankar Prasad Jaiswal, who had allowed Govindacharya to use part of his official residence as a workplace, said: "I am worried and I have asked the CID of my district to trace him." But with the leader away, various stories about Gurumurthy are doing the rounds in the BJP and RSS circles. One story goes that his confidante and Central minister, Uma Bharti, is in possession of a "letter" which hints at a "relationship" the former BJP general secretary allegedly had with a Ranchi-based woman. The letter was selectively leaked to the Hindi press. But Bharti has denied possessing any such letter. The second story is more complicated. It again involves Bharti, and also their common friend, S. Gurumurthy. It is being said that Gurumurthy spoke in derogatory terms about Samajwadi Party spokesman Amar Singh at Bharti's residence when she was not around. He called Singh a "broker" during an informal chat with reporters. When Singh got to hear of it, he complained to Bharti. She was furious, and ticked off Gurumurthy for it. Gurumurthy did not like the scolding and told the whole story to Govindacharya. He, in turn, expressed "shock and disgust" at Bharti's response and wondered why things had come to such a pass in the Sangh parivar that old friends were turning against one another because of the "compulsions of staying on in power". Ever since he ceased to be a BJP office-bearer and was shunted out of the Ashoka Road headquarters, Govindacharya has kept himself aloof from party matters. But he came into his own at a meeting of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch at Shimla in June.