RSS stand on J&K spells trouble for BJP
11 July 2002
The Asian Age
New Delhi: Giving a clear signal that the BJP has to toe its line on Jammu and Kashmir, the RSS has decided to enter the electoral fray through the Jammu-Kashmir National Front on the issue of trifurcation of the state. RSS additional spokesperson Ram Madhav said the organisation has decided to back the JKNF during the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state. The JKNF, with the backing of the RSS, is planning to take up the trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir as its main electoral plank. Such a move by the RSS could spell trouble for the BJP, as deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani has already made his governmentís opposition to the trifurcation clear. Even as the RSS was ''expecting BJPís support on the issue,'' the newly appointed BJP chief, Mr Venkaiah Naidu, has already gone on record with his commitment to ''keep the NDA agenda flying.'' Mr Naiduís outfit was also expected to be a link between the party and the government. The RSS spokesperson, who claimed that the local BJP unit was supporting the demand for trifurcation, was hopeful for the central leadershipís support on the issue. ''Only the deputy Prime Minister has opposed it. Has the BJP said anything officially?'' Mr Ram Madhav asked. Under the JKNF platform, the RSS intends to launch a front and expects the support of the Akali Dal, Bahujan Samaj Party, Gujjar groups and Rajput Sabha in Jammu. ''Any party, even the Congress is welcome to join, if it supports our cause for trifurcation of Jammu, Ladakh and the Valley,'' an RSS functionary said. Even as the RSS, which has always been described as a ''cultural and social organisation,'' is all set to take its first step towards fighting an electoral battle, Mr Madhav said this would only be ''confined to Jammu, since the RSS has already adopted a resolution on the trifurcation issue.'' While Mr Madhav hoped that the BJP was not going to oppose the trifurcation issue in Jammu during the polls, another RSS functionary said that it was upto the BJP to decide whether it was ''going to support or oppose us.'' It was made clear that the RSS-backed front would fight the BJP in the electorate over the issue.