The RSS is rattled by Modi’s anti-Muslim image projected by the thoughtless actions of some BJP leaders. They did not mind till Modi was facing barbs of leaders of the so-called secular parties. Actions of some senior party leaders show that they too have joined the anti-Modi camp, the Sangh feels.
The RSS’s ire is directed at BJP president Rajnath Singh who wore a skull cap in his meeting with Shi’ah leader Maulana Kalbe Jawad in Lucknow. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has already gone a step further by accepting a skull cap at a public meeting. Also facing flak is State BJP president of Delhi, Dr Harsh Vardhan, who wore a skull cap during his campaign in Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha seat.
There is no reason for these leaders to be too accommodating since the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has already rejected the posturing exercise saying that he did not believe in tokenism. Why are then others in the BJP not seeing the point? The statement of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind general secretary Mahmood Madani that he did not expect Modi to wear skull cap — because he wouldn’t sport a tilak if someone urged him to — has further highlighted the contradictions in the actions of BJP leaders.
A section in the BJP calculate that Rajnath Singh is trying to reposition himself in the image of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee — liberal and accommodative. This is under the impression that if the BJP does not reach anwhere near the magic figure, Modi may have to opt out of the PM race. Rajnath Singh could then emerge as the most acceptable alternative candidate, a senior BJP leader said.
But the RSS wants none other than Narendra Modi. After the bad NDA experience, most RSS leaders conclude that Modi is needed to take the nation forward. They have not yet worked out an alternative strategy on what to do if the BJP fell short of the numbers to cobble up a majority. Most RSS workers are likely to say no to any of the alternatives to Modi.