Gadkari BJP’s Sitaram

Gadkari: BJP’s Sitaram Kesri

Prashun Bhaumik |

By Sanjiv Acharya

When Sitaram Kesri had taken over the reigns of the Congress Party from PV Narsimha Rao, he had invited all former congressmen and women who had left the party because of Rao to rejoin. In response to his call, people such as Arjun Singh, ND Tiwari, Sheila Dikshit and Madhav Rao Scindia had returned to the party again. On a similar note, the newly appointed president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nitin Gadkari, has also made it clear that he was open to the idea of all those who had left the party to return. On a specific question about whetner he would consider the re-entry of Jaswant Singh (who was expelled from the party because of his controversial book on Jinnah) said all (including KN Govindacharya, Uma Bharati, Babulal Marandi, Jaswant Singh and Kalyan Singh) such cases would be considered in ordered to strengthen the party again. But then the Delhi Fab Four – Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitley and Ananth kumar – are unhappy at the suggestion. The reason being obvious – All thoise slated to return are “national level” leaders and from day one they would try and settle scores with all these second rung leaders who were responsible for their exit. According to a senior BJP leader, Govindacharya has had long meetings with RSS chief Mohan Rao Bhagwat in Cuttack. Uma Bharati is also in touch with RSS leaders. Both of them want to get back to the party as LK Advani no longer holds the sway he once did.

Meetings between the ‘renegades’ and the RSS was to convince Bhagwat to invite these leaders to the party’s national executive to be held in Indore soon and announce their return. But this did not go down well with the Fab Four and one of them tried to tell Bhagwat that the move would only make the infighting in the party worse and defeat Bhagwat’s attempt to strengthen the party.

The main objection is against Uma Bharati. None of these leaders are in favor of giving her an entry. Apart from them, the entire lot of BJP leaders from Madhya Pradesh, are also Uma’s return. Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and Raman Singh, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh are also not in favour of Uma Bharti. Mohan Rao Bhagwat is aware of the opposition. That’s why he has reportedly told these former BJP leaders to make some effort on their part to normalize relations with old colleagues. KN Govindacharya may be given responsibility in any of the RSS organizations instead of his joining the BJP. He will be brought to the BJP at an appropriate time. There is however not much opposition to Jaswant Singh from these leaders. Only Ravi Shankar Prasad is against it along with Vasundhara Raje. Maneka Gandhi and Sushma Swaraj are in favour of Jaswant Singh. And so Gadkari may not find it easy to bring them back into the fold, especially at the Indore conclave.