Three days before the Jitan Ram Manjhi government’s trust vote in Bihar, the BJP’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS, has stepped in to calibrate the party’s response to the situation.
RSS functionary Dattatreya Hosabale met BJP leaders over the Bihar issue today, sources told NDTV. Also present at the meeting was BJP’s Bihar in-charge Bhupendra Yadav, general secretary Murlidhar Rao and other key leaders.
Sources said the RSS is averse to any direct intervention by BJP in the political crisis.
So far, the party has maintained a neutral stand, but with Bihar chief minister Mr Manjhi meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi for a tete-e-tete last week, the BJP has been accused of playing a role in the crisis.
Janata Dal United leader Nitish Kumar, Mr Manjhi’s former boss, who had staked claim for the Chief Minister’s post and whose request for a floor test was denied by Governor KN Tripathi, said, “It all started after Jitan Ram Manjhi met the Prime Minister. The BJP is working behind the scenes in Bihar.”
Mr Manjhi, who, the JD(U) claims, has the support of only 12 legislators, has said he is not averse to “accepting support” from anyone during the floor test.
The assembly elections in Bihar are to be held later this year, and the BJP is hoping to win big.
The RSS, sources said, also plans to monitor the BJP campaign in Bihar – the concern springs from the party’s huge loss in the Delhi assembly elections.
Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party had won 67 of Delhi’s 70 seats, despite BJP’s high voltage campaign that involved a battery of Central leaders and ministers and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Delhi results have also raised questions about the efficacy of party chief Amit Shah’s campaign strategy here, with party insiders and grassroot-level workers pointing out several lacunae.
As the party analyses the reasons for its debacle, BJP organisational secretary Ramlal, who is on deputation from the RSS to the party and coordinates between them, has been tasked with preparing a report on the defeat.
But to prevent a repeat of Delhi, the RSS, said BJP sources, has decided to keep a close eye on the campaign.