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A Jana Sangh founder who brooked no diktat

Madhok (96) was unwell for some time and had been admitted to AIIMS for a month where he died around 9 AM.

Written by Pradeep Kaushal | New Delhi |
Updated: May 3, 2016 3:02:16 am
Balraj Madhok, Narendra Modi, PM Modi, Balraj Madhok dead, Balraj Madhok passes away, former BJP president passes away, India news Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his last respects to Balraj Madhok and met his family members to condole his death. (Source: AP)

Balraj Madhok, one of the founders of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), led the party in a crucial phase and gave it a distinct ideological edge. His thinking had a deep imprint of the Arya Samaj movement.

Madhok, who was 96 when he died on Monday, joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) while studying in Lahore in 1938 and became a pracharak in 1942. He was deputed to Jammu and Kashmir for setting up the organisation and floated the Praja Parishad there.

Taking up the job of a lecturer in history here, Madhok founded the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in 1948. He was elected to the Lok Sabha twice from Delhi, in 1961 and 1967.


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The convenor of the first convention of the BJS in 1951, he was appointed national secretary of the new party. After a rapid rise, he became the president of the BJS in 1966. It was under his presidency in 1967 that the BJS won 35 Lok Sabha seats, the highest tally till then.

Madhok was too independent-minded to brook any diktat from any quarter. He made no secret of his belief that, even though the BJS had been founded by RSS men like him, the role of the RSS in the formation of the BJS was secondary. He also believed the RSS wanted to be part of the exercise because it was looking for support, especially in the aftermath of its ban following Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.

It was logical, therefore, that the first BJS manifesto drafted by Madhok borrowed from the teachings of the Arya Samaj as well as the views of both the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha. While most people in the party praised Deendayal Upadhyay’s thesis of “integral humanism”, Madhok felt that Upadhyay had leaned heavily on “radical humanism”, propagated by M N Roy.

Obviously, he found himself out of favour with the RSS which, it turned out, had already zeroed in on two young leaders, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani, for promotion and grooming.

Unaware of this, Madhok complained against Vajpayee’s functioning to RSS chief M S Golwalkar, and the move backfired. He was charged with indiscipline on the ground of a leakage of internal communications exchanged by leaders at the Kanpur national executive meeting in 1973 and was expelled by Advani, the new party chief.

Madhok later attributed his ouster to a conspiracy by Vajpayee, Advani, Nanaji Deshmukh and K R Malkani.

Madhok remained critical of Vajpayee and Advani thereafter. He also suspected conspiracies behind the death of BJS founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee and murder of Deendayal Upadhyay.


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First published on: 03-05-2016 at 12:00:11 am
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