Following Navjot Kaur Sidhu’s statement that former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader late Brig (retd) Jagdish Gagneja too opposed the BJP-SAD alliance in the state, several RSS leaders The Indian Express spoke to, on condition of anonymity, confirmed the claim.
“BJP is the political off-shoot of the RSS and it wanted the BJP to take up the matter of poor law and order as well drug menace forcefully with the SAD, its alliance partner. But not a single senior BJP leader discussed these issues with them. The Akalis never treated the BJP as an equal partner,” said a senior RSS leader, adding that Gagneja, who was the co-ordinator between BJP and RSS state units, was not happy with the arrangement. “He felt that the Akali Dal was dominaneering in the relationship instead of cooperating.”
Gagneja did not spare even BJP leaders. According to a BJP leader, Gagneja maintained a list of “tainted” leaders in the party. “He did not want them to be considered for a ticket,” he said.
RSS leaders said Gagneja was quite aggressive in his preparations for the upcoming Punjab assembly elections in 2017. He had opened several RSS shakhas in the rural belt in the past couple of years to create a strong base for BJP in the state.
“Gagneja used to say that BJP is just fulfilling the alliance dharma but forgot its dharma towards the people of state,” said a senior RSS functionary. “He (Gagneja) was right in his saying that BJP had no concern with the poor law and order of the state. This was later proved when he himself fell victim to bullets.”
State BJP chief Vijay Sampla could not be reached for his comments. RSS Media in-charge Punjab Ram Gopal, said the RSS was a big organisation and that it was not run on the viewpoint of one person.