Reshuffle in RSS likely after Lok Sabha elections
With the end of the era of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani heading the BJP for over three decades, the RSS is expected to witness some changes at the organisational level to improve coordination between the organisation and the party. Sources said that irrespective of Narendra Modi winning the prime ministerial race on May 16, the RSS is considering a proposal to reshuffle its own hierarchy to deal with the new set-up in the BJP.
RSS strongman Suresh Soni, who was instrumental in making Modi the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate despite stiff opposition from Advani and his camp, will go back to the parent organisation. In his place, Dattatreya Hosabale or Suresh “Bhaiyyaji” Joshi will be the new RSS point man in the BJP, sources said.
When the NDA was in power, this function was performed by Madan Das Devi. After the NDA’s defeat in 2004, Soni became the RSS point man. But with the Sangh adopting a more assertive position vis-a-vis the BJP in the recent past, Joshi and Hosabale reportedly started taking crucial political decisions.
One of the reasons for the reshuffle in the RSS, sources said, is Soni’s proximity to Modi. It is said that he played a crucial role in pushing the elevation of Modi within the party and this naturally led to some friction with other BJP leaders like Advani.
However, senior RSS functionary Ram Madhav denied any kind of movement inside the organisation. “It is only a rumour and there is nothing like that. Even after the election, there will be no change in the organisation,” he said.
Another source in RSS said the changes, if they happen, will be more like a generational shift. “This will be like a routine movement and there will not be any official announcement. Soniji wanted to get relieved of the bigger responsibility due to health issues,” he said.
Hosabale, a former organising secretary of the ABVP and a protege of former general secretary late H.V. Seshadri, is seen as an effective leader.
There are many ABVP leaders who have reached top positions in the BJP, including Nitin Gadkari and Ananth Kumar. It has been said the expected change will improve the coordination between the new set-up in the BJP and Sangh as Hosabale is considered a pro-Modi leader.