Ahead of UP polls, a rift within RSS can undo BJP plans

The factionalism in the Sangh is likely to impact the BJP�s performance in elections to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

Ahead of UP polls, a rift within RSS can undo BJP plans

Prime Minister Narendra Modi may say that he has done several things but there is one thing he will not like to claim credit to: dividing the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh into two camps over their support to him. This factionalism in the Sangh is likely to impact the BJP’s performance in elections to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

There are two camps, one which supports Modi, said to be led by Dattatreya Hosabale, and the other which doesn’t, said to be led by Manmohan Vaidya. Vaidya’s statement on reservations at the recently-concluded Jaipur Literature Festival has BJP MLA aspirants remembering the nightmare of Bihar 2015 when RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said quotas should be struck down before the state elections, which turned the campaign in favour of the Mahagathbandhan of Nitish-Lalu-Congress.


The timing of Vaidya’s remarks on the SC/ST quota, which forms the backbone of the BSP support, is seen by party leaders as a deliberate move to wreck similar damage in UP. Vaidya has been seen consistently anti-Modi and is a close friend of a Modi rival, said a BJP insider. Apart from this, many pracharaks in the RSS are jealous of Modi. They see him as one of them who managed to get away to rule Gujarat and then the country, therefore the cause for heartburn.

Besides this, the Sangh is wary of Amit Shah and his strongarm politics which is seen as anathema of the RSS way of doing things. Due to this, the RSS didn’t want Shah to be party president for a second term.

The Sangh is important for the BJP’s plans of winning Uttar Pradesh. The 2014 Lok Sabha clean sweep by the party in the state is ascribed to booth and street-level campaigning by Sangh volunteers in Varanasi and other key seats. But the efficacy of the assembly campaign is now victim to the factionalism within the RSS, say leaders in the BJP, who did not want to be named.

If the party loses UP, the loss will be blamed on Modi and could lead to his consequent downfall, say party leaders.