Palakkad: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has initiated a move at the organisational level to reduce the interferences and strict control over the day-to-day activities of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its organisational matters in Kerala.
This move is reportedly being made after it became a talking point within the party and the Sangh that the constant interference of the RSS was often proving to be an obstacle for the BJP to function independently as a political party. The organisation evaluates that this is not prevalent in any other state. The RSS-BJP central leadership has also likely given a directive over the issue, according to sources.
Also, demands have been raised to review the age limit fixed for party office-bearers. The issues would be discussed and a decision taken during the RSS meetings later, according to sources.
During the evaluation of the election results at the BJP-RSS coordination meeting held in Kochi the other day, the senior leaders discussed the criticism that Sangh's approach is hindering the party from achieving its goal of politicisation.
Controversial issues not discussed
Comments on the hawala money row, Manjeswaram and Bathery election fund deal allegations and cases were completely avoided during the hours-long meeting that was attended by all the main RSS-BJP leaders, according to sources. There was reportedly an unofficial ban on controversial issues.
Criticisms were raised earlier itself in the party that the Sangh has been micromanaging the BJP from the booth-level for few years. In the wake of the major setback in the Assembly polls, the leadership was able to strongly raise the issue. Compromises are needed if the party has to grow within the political climate of Kerala. The leaders indicated that there has to be a clear shift in the RSS interferences in matters, including in the selection of booth-level office-bearers. The party would not benefit by replacing a party activist, who has been appointed as an office-bearer after working for years, with a lesser-known person.
Strengthen BJP at the grassroots level
It is due to the lack of politicisation that those who joined the party from the Parivar years ago are still seen as Sangh leaders. Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan strongly backed the suggestion for the complete politicisation of the party. Several of the RSS leaders have reportedly agreed to the party stance with some suggestions.
Politicisation is imperative. But the leaders said that as the BJP leadership is not taking steps to strengthen the party at the grassroots level, the Sangh is stepping in to do so and that should not be perceived in any other way.
The BJP leadership also urged the Sangh that it should make urgent and strong interventions in serious issues, campaign for Hindutva politics and give guidance, besides being a strong force behind the party.
Suggestions were also raised during the meeting for an overhaul in the BJP's style of functioning and approach. The leaders also pointed out that no other party had such a parent organisation and this was BJP's biggest gain.
Despite presence of BDJS, no backing from community
Though the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) stood with the party during the state Assembly polls, there was no support from the Ezhava community, the meet assessed. There was also strong minority polarisation in the state. With the stance of both the fronts, the polarisation would become acute in the coming years.
Though the RSS leaders unofficially hinted that a thorough probe was held into the Kodakara hawala money allegations against the party, the details were not discussed. The Sangh leaders' speeches conveyed that there was no need of action at the organisational level in the issue. In other cases and allegations, directives were reportedly given to take strong legal action.
The meeting was chaired by RSS Pranth Karyavah P N Easwaran. Pranth Sangh Chalak advocate K K Balram, Pranth Pracharak Harikrishnan, other leaders M Radhakrishnan, K P Radhakrishnan, and BJP leaders Kummanam Rajasekharan, P K Krishnadas, M T Ramesh, George Kurian, C Krishnakumar, K Sudheer, A N Radhakrishnan, and state president K Surendran took part in the meet. But senior party leaders O Rajagopal and C K Padmanabhan did not turn up for the meeting.
Crossing the age limit
During the meet, the BJP also pointed out that fixing the age limit as 45 and 55 for the mandalam president and district president, respectively, was not appropriate for politics. In politics, when individuals reach any position through active functioning, they could have crossed this age limit. Due to the current age limit, several strong party workers who wield influence are not able to become part of the leadership. The organisation would not benefit from this.
The party also faces difficulty when those who are continuously working in a constituency are moved out at the time of elections, without being considered for candidature there. The leaders suggested that a clear approach was needed over this.
Confusion at Kazhakoottam
The BJP-RSS leaders explained during the meet that the delay in the candidate finalisation at Kazhakoottam was due to the confusion at the organisational-level. They clarified that it was untrue to state that Sobha Surendran was fielded at the last minute.
Discussions were held on considering former DGP T P Senkumar at Kazhakoottam to give representation to the Ezhava community in Thiruvananthapuram. During this, suggestions were raised within the party that Union Minister of State V Muraleedharan should contest from the constituency. However, Union Home Minister Amit Shah was of the view that Muraleedharan need not contest. National general secretary (organisation) B L Santhosh recommended to the central committee that Muraleedharan should enter the poll fray. But after evaluating the political scenario in the state, the national leadership decided that Muraleedharan need not contest in the election.
Sobha Surendran had informed the leadership earlier itself that she would not be contesting. The Union Minister, state president and RSS office-bearers held talks with her over the issue, the leaders explained during the meeting.