New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party is so different from the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangha that RSS’s methods and procedures of top leadership appointment will not work for BJP. BJP is also to blame for the current crisis centring on Nitin Gadkari because it is unable to evolve as a standalone, stable, Centre-Right political party held up by its own sinews. And finally, the intense jockeying for power within BJP has to do, rather obviously, with the threat of Narendra Modi’s shift to Delhi, a process that is intimately linked with the regeneration of Indian politics, and is as inevitable as its time has arrived. The change in Indian politics, all said and done, will come from BJP, on account of its non-dynastic character and dominance of the main street, and RSS must step back and aid that process, and not become an impediment with its anachronistic thinking.

In RSS’s long history, there has been only some little trouble over the appointment of its chief, the sarsanghachalak, and this was, mainly, with Guru Golwalkar’s succession with Balasaheb Deoras. As is well-known in Sangha Parivar circles, the two men had differences on starting the Jana Sangha, with Golwalkar opposed, and Deoras walking out of RSS with his younger brother in consequence, until Golwalkar relented. There was never any doubt that Deoras would succeed Golwalkar, but it is said Balasaheb had his tense moments, because whilst it is a RSS collective which has a final say in the appointment of the sarsanghachalak, the outgoing chief has a veto of sorts. Ultimately, Golwalkar trusted Deoras, so the leadership transferred to him.

RSS’s decision-making processes are legendary as they are opaque. There are endless consultations, the playing of mind games, one-on-one meetings which could go on for days, in which the interactions are extremely gentlemanly, old-worldly, polite to a fault, but where eventually, so to speak, nothing remains hidden from the ancient men who have run his organization for decades. All decisions are based on consensus, and the sarsanghachalak has a firm guiding hand in this. It is this process which eventually created Jana Sangha and its later BJP avatar, gave it a head-start with leaders such as Deendayal Upadhyay, A.B.Vajpayee and L.K.Advani, and it is RSS ideology and RSS cadres which have made BJP a mainstream party.

But so long RSS and BJP leaders came from the same generation/ seniority, which rough parity ended with Rajinder Singh (Rajju Bhaiyya) on the RSS side and Vajpayee/ Advani representing BJP, the two organizations had easy relations, or at least tensions didn’t spill out into the open. But this changed with K.S.Sudarshan becoming RSS chief, who being junior to both Vajpayee and Advani, and far less politically talented, set about pitting the two organizations against one another, which was acutely embarrassing and upsetting for Vajpayee as prime minister. Sudarshan was pulled back to Nagpur from Delhi by the brotherhood, slowly stripped off his powers, and Mohan Bhagwat, with the same Brahmanical lineage as Golwalkar, came to the fore.

But Bhagwat’s term has coincided with the precipitous decline of BJP, the exhaustion of the Hindutva ideology, and the rise of the young, who see Narendra Modi as their future. Modi of course represents a threat to all Indian political leaders, from the Nehru-Gandhi clan to the Nitish Kumars of the world, and he personifies mortality as well for the BJP central leadership of Advani and Sushma Swaraj. Arun Jaitley will succeed and prosper in Modi raj, if and when that happens. All this is known. Modi also poses a threat to RSS’s control of BJP, going by how he has reduced the Sangha Parivar to nothing in Gujarat, and this is something Nagpur cannot tolerate. In its intolerance of Modi’s way of politics, it is erecting speed breakers ahead of his fast car, and Nitin Gadkari has come to play the part of the comic red-faced hero in this. Anyone who backs Gadkari, the latest being the honest and upstanding chartered accountant, S.Gurumurthy, will find himself (or herself: Sushma Swaraj being another) kayoed. It is becoming a contest of wills between RSS and Narendra Modi, and it is not a fight the RSS can gain anything by winning. Like it or not, Narendra Modi is the future of BJP.

Institutions cannot change their thinking overnight, so the RSS-Narendra Modi clash will continue for a while. If not Gadkari, RSS will try for another BJP president, a provincial lightweight, so it can have its way. But it won’t work for long. If Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley play their cards right, they will be Vajpayee-Advani-2 giving BJP its second coming. The RSS leadership would do the country a great favour by stepping out of their way. If they believe and act upon what they say every so often, that the BJP makes its own decisions, it would be evidence of the RSS’s wisdom. And in Narendra Modi, BJP will have its first leader who is not dependent on RSS backing, as he has repeatedly shown in Gujarat. Under him, BJP will come into its own.