RSS appoints Amit Shah's aide as BJP pointsman

RSS appoints Amit Shah's aide as BJP pointsman

In a long-anticipated move, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has appointed a new pointsman for interaction with the BJP, replacing senior functionary of the organisation Suresh Soni with Krishna Gopal.

“The RSS has decided to appoint Krishna Gopal as the party's new coordinator to deal with the party (BJP),” All-India Prachar Pramukh of RSS Manmohan Vaidya told PTI. A doctorate degree holder, Gopal is one of the three RSS joint general secretaries, including Suresh Soni and Dattatreya Hosabale. Above them in the hierarchy is RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi and chief Mohan Bhagwat.

On the eve of the RSS’ Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal meeting on Tuesday, Gopal is understood to have been rewarded for working closely with BJP president Amit Shah and leading the party to a phenomenal success during this year’s Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. Shah had also been rewarded after the general elections by being appointed as president of the BJP.

Modi had, after becoming prime minister, hosted an exclusive thanksgiving dinner for the RSS top brass, including Soni, Bhagwat, Joshi, Hosabale and Gopal.

Soni’s displacement is expected to redefine the working relationship between the RSS and BJP. After the results of the parliamentary elections stamped the Modi clout among people, the RSS had left it to the prime minister to have his way in the party, which has been linked to Shah becoming president. This was partly, BJP leaders believe, because of the support Modi got from Soni and things may take a different turn with Gopal at the helm of affairs.

Soni was instrumental in projecting Modi in a prime-ministerial avatar during the Lok Sabha campaign, but his equations with Bhagwat have been going downhill since the RSS chief’s loyalist Nitin Gadkari, who is now Union Transport Minister, attempted a second term as BJP chief in December 2012.

Gadkari was, however, ousted from the post of BJP chief, which went to now Home Minister Rajnath Singh, after he was mired in a controversy surrounding his role as head of the Purti group in Maharashtra.

Soni was apparently unhappy with Gadkari as BJP president for refusing to give Prabhat Jha a second term as chief of the party’s Madhya Pradesh unit because chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan had spoken against it.