For me, Kushabhau Thakre, the former BJP president, would always remain the embodiment of all that is good in the RSS. The man who built the BJP from a stretch in MP was known for his Spartan lifestyle. Like most RSS wholetimers, he was a bachelor.
When I first met him in early 80s, he used to live in a small room that opened on a noisy street in a building that housed the BJP office in old Bhopal. That small room served as his bedroom, office, visitor’s room, dining and guest room.
The furniture conisted of a wooden cot, a couple of chairs and an earthen pitcher (ghada) for drinking water. He used to share a table fan with his neighbour, Kailash Sarang, the office secretary, whose family would use it whenever Thakre did not need it.
Some time he would invite me for lunch to that room. The food, a very simple affair, came in a thali from Sarang’s house. This was the life style of a man who could make or unmake a chief minister.
Hence, my eyes nearly popped out when I met Eknath Gore, a Sangh parivar activist, at Bhopal that winter morning in the early 90s. I had gone to meet ex-CM VK Sakhlecha at his office at Nisarga hotel in Bhopal’s MP Nagar area.