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RSS played no role in Jaswant's expulsion: Bhagwat

RSS played no role in Jaswant's expulsion: Bhagwat

Mohan Bhagwat told mediapersons that this was BJP's internal matter.

Jammu: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief, Mohan Bhagwat, said on Friday that his organisation had no role in the expulsion of veteran politician Jaswant Singh from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"RSS has no role in it whatsoever," Bhagwat told mediapersons on the first day of his three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir. "It's purely BJP's internal affair," he said.

Many political analysts cite Jaswant Singh's lack of closeness to the RSS as one of the reasons for his expulsion from the BJP on Wednesday. The RSS is the ideological parent of the BJP, the country's main opposition party.

Bhagwat criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Sharm-el-Sheikh joint statement with Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, especially with reference to Balochistan.

"Strategically, India has gone on the backfoot," Bhagwat said, echoing the apprehensions that the BJP leadership had voiced in parliament. The BJP feels India has capitulated to Pakistan by allowing Balochistan to be mentioned in the joint statement. Islamabad accuses India of fomenting insurgency in the Pakistani province of Balochistan.

With regard to the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which some political parties and separatists say should be revoked in Jammu and Kashmir, Bhagwat said: "Special powers should stay with the security forces as long as those are required."

The RSS chief claimed his organisation could keep India united and "preserve the forces of moderation in the country".

He is here to review the functioning of the state unit of the RSS. This is the first time he is on an official visit after being named the chief of the RSS earlier this year.

Bhagwat, RSS sources said, will be conducting a post-mortem of the organisational activities in Kashmir, where it is in a crisis as some members indulged in power politics.

"A thorough review of the RSS unit of Jammu and Kashmir is on the anvil. He will discuss ways to improve its image and make the Sangh attractive to the youth," an RSS functionary said.

He admitted that the RSS was facing various problems and youngsters were not finding the organisation attractive.

"Jaswant Singh's expulsion was unfortunate but necessary. Jaswant Singh tried to denigrate Sardar Patel's great efforts to integrate the country. Factionalism is one of the factors leading to the party's poll defeat, but I want to assure you that there is no possibility of L K Advani stepping down" — BJP Leader Sushma Swaraj to CNN-IBN

first published:August 21, 2009, 18:28 IST