The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS has dismissed as an “election ploy” senior Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela’s allegation that the Gujarat BJP has in its possession purported video recordings of Sangh leaders similar to the sleaze CD that had resulted in former BJP leader Sanjay Joshi being expelled by the party many years ago.
Mr. Vaghela’s claim is an unambiguous attack on the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, who is also Gujarat Chief Minister and controls the state’s party unit. The Congressman was once Mr. Modi’s senior colleague in the RSS and has alleged that the chief minister’s “political attacks are consistently below the belt.”
“Where did Sanjay Joshi’s CD come from? Who brought it and why? I also hear that CDs on many other RSS leaders are there with the BJP. Attacking below the belt shouldn’t happen in politics, at least not in the Sangh.” Mr. Vaghela told in a gush of allegations at his farm house on the outskirts of Gandhinagar. He refused to share any more details.
RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said, “I don’t believe Vagehla’s allegations. He is saying this just because it is election season.”
The BJP too laughed off the allegation. “The Congress has become a rumour-mongering brigade,” said the party’s Shahnawaz Hussain.
Mr. Joshi, an RSS volunteer drafted into the BJP, was caught in the vortex of a sleaze scandal in 2005. The party exiled him for six years, based on a CD that was later found to have been doctored. An attempt in 2012 by then BJP president Nitin Gadkari to rehabilitate Mr. Joshi, known for his formidable organisational skills, was stonewalled by Mr. Modi.
Both Mr. Vaghela and Sanjay Joshi have at different times been rivals of Mr. Modi within the RSS-led umbrella of organisations called the Sangh Parivar.
Mr. Vaghela quit the BJP in 1996. He denied reports that he has recently warmed up to Mr. Modi, seen as the forerunner for the country’s top post.