Indian Express

Varanasi seat row: RSS worried, MM Joshi downplays it

Sources said some members sought clarity as to whether Joshi would be moved from Varanasi and Modi would contest from there. Tweet This
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Speculation has been that a candidacy for Narendra Modi from Varanasi would mean Joshi, the siting MP, shifting to Kanpur. (PTI) Speculation has been that a candidacy for Narendra Modi from Varanasi would mean Joshi, the siting MP, shifting to Kanpur. (PTI)

RSS on Sunday stepped into the reported Varanasi seat row between BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi, saying it is “worried” even as the BJP downplayed it.

“We are worried…But we feel they (BJP) are experienced enough as we had seen on earlier occasions. They are capable. They will solve the problem,” RSS General Secretary Suresh Bhaiyaji Joshi told reporters on the concluding day of the three-day meet of its top policy making body, Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha in Bangalore.

In Delhi, breaking his silence on the issue, M M Joshi said he would accept any decision the party takes like a “disciplined soldier” and hoped it would neither dent the PM candidate’s prestige nor hurt party’s electoral chances. The reported controversy over who will contest from Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency had reportedly found its echo at BJP’s Central Election Committee meeting in Delhi on Saturday.

Sources said some members sought clarity as to whether M M Joshi would be moved from Varanasi and Modi would contest
from there. Among those who are believed to have been keen to make the point are Joshi himself as well as Sushma Swaraj.

On Sunday, Swaraj denied in Vidisha (Madhya Pradesh) that there was any rift in the party on the issue. “I was present in the meeting in Delhi on Saturday. Lok Sabha seats for UP did not figure in the deliberations as reported in the media”. The RSS leader said, “These things are decided by political party. If a person wants to express his views, there is nothing wrong in it.”

Asked about the Sangh’s stand on whether senior leaders like L K Advani should contest elections, he said RSS cannot direct the party (BJP), but can only give an indication. However, young people should be given an opportunity to render service to the nation with their youthful energy. At the same time, it is beneficial to have the guidance of senior
leaders, he said.

M M Joshi, who had won from Varanasi last time, said the party’s Central Election Committee would take a decision on March 13 and rejected reports of a poster war between supporters of Modi and him in the constituency as the “mental fiction” of media.

“The decision will be taken by Parliamentary Board. A meeting (of CEC) is taking place on March 13,” he told reporters. Asked if he would accept a decision to field Modi from the prestigious eastern UP seat, he shot back, “every disciplined soldier accepts” party’s decision. “I don’t talk about such issues outside. Whatever I say is within the party,” he said to repeated questions over his stand on the row.

“The party would take a decision which will neither dent the prestige of continued…

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