For several months now, Uttar Pradesh has been witnessing a clash of egos between BJP state president Lakshmikant Bajpai and RSS general secretary (organisation) Rakesh Jain. The tussle is so bitter that sources on either side see no hope of a patch-up and expect either or both of them to be removed after the polls.
Sources say the ego-clash has hurt the BJP’s poll campaign. They say top RSS and BJP leaders, including RSS Sahsarkaryavah Dr Krishna Gopal, BJP chief Rajnath Singh, BJP general secretary (organisation) Ramlal and state unit in-charge Amit Shah made efforts to get the two to bury their differences, but failed. The sources say that for the past few months, the two have not been on talking terms. Even if they have talked, it has been restricted to formal conversation.
Bajpai and Jain are from western UP. Bajpai is four-time MLA from Meerut and was minister in the UP government for a few years. Jain, who is from Baghpat district, has been an RSS pracharak in western UP for years and worked in capacities from zilla (district) pracharak to prant (state) pracharak. Around seven years back, the RSS deputed Jain to assist the then general secretary (organisation), UP, Nagendra Kumar; he later replaced Kumar when the latter was sent to Bihar.
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A senior RSS functionary told The Indian Express, “Removing one person will give a bad signal, so both (Bajpai and Jain) may be removed.”
Jain is among a handful of pracharaks from a purely RSS background working in the BJP. A majority of the others are from the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, RSS frontal organisation working among students). Jain is said to be close to Ramlal.
A senior BJP leader said, “Due to their tussle, the daily functioning of the organisation is being affected and decisions were getting delayed. This reflected during ticket distribution and the entire election campaign.”
To overcome it, the party appointed Sunil Bansal to assist Amit Shah in looking after election affairs. Bansal, who has an ABVP background, had been transferred from Punjab. Since a lot of BJP leaders have an ABVP background, RSS sources see the possibility of Bansal replacing Jain, who has the support of RSS pracharaks who have a say in BJP affairs.
According to RSS and BJP sources, there is no doubt that either or both of them will be removed after the general elections.