16th Jana Sangh Conference: Madhok-Vajpayee Rift

AB Vajpayee and Balraj Madhok. Pic credit The Hindu
AB Vajpayee and Balraj Madhok
NK SINGH from Patna

The main outcome of the 16th session of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh was perhaps the outburst of Madhok-Vajpayee rift. Balraj Madhok arrived one day late and left one day earlier.

The first symptom of controversy appeared in the working committee meeting when it failed to adopt the draft resolution on political situation, even after eight hours of discussion, as it was sharply divided over the policy to be adopted towards the Congress.

Madhok group felt that the JS was nearer (in ideology) to Syndicate Congress and an alliance should be formed with it. But Vajpayee group maintained that there was very little difference between the Congress before and after the split. As a result, the working committee had to redraft the official resolution.

Although the leadership of the Jana Sangh had gone too far to meet Madhok line on various issues, he was conspicuously indifferent and generally absent from delegates session and deliberations.

Madhok did not address a single meeting in the whole session. Once he was even detained at the gate of Chanakyanagar, the venue of session, because the volunteers “did not know him”. (Bihar JS is in the Vajpayee block.)

Reaction came in the form of a pamphlet, ‘Changing Situation and Jana Sangh’, which bluntly criticised the dominant leadership for the failure of the party’s politics in the last two ears. The pamphlet was being sold at the session for 10 paisa a copy.

AB Vajpayee did not remain silent and in his concluding speech at the conference he severely attacked Madhok’s ideas.

Indianization of Muslim

Madhok-Vajpayee rift is nothing new for the Jana Sangh. They have had many tussles on the issues of bank-nationalisation, Presidential election, alliance with CB Gupta in UP etc.

Vajpayee, who is relatively moderate, not only enjoys the confidence of Guru Golwalkar, but has also the majority of the Jana Sangh working committee in his favour. In the rank and file, he enjoys full support from UP, MP, Rajasthan and Bihar. Madhok, who is more militant, has a good hold over his party men in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab.

Balraj Madhok raised the cry for “Indianization of Muslims” in the Patna session. He had prepared the 6-point draft resolution on internal situation. His passage which called for “Indianization” of 93 per cent of Muslims was deleted to soften the anti-Muslim tinge as it came under sharp attack from Muslim delegates. (There were 53 of them.)

The Jana Sangh’s economic policy adopted at the session was so ‘progressive’ that a section of the party had to criticise it severely. Madhok said: “In our love for being called progressive, it is necessary that we should not loose our distinct identity. He left Patna primarily on the issue that the JS should not fall for “competitive radicalism” and remain in the Right block.

Because of strong difference in the working committee, the economic policy resolution remained held up for three days.

Excerpts from Secular Democracy, January 1970

16th Jana Sangh Conference, on the spot report from Patna by NK Singh, Secular Democracy, January 1970, P1
Secular Democracy January 1970 P1
16th Jana Sangh Conference, on the spot report from Patna by NK Singh, Secular Democracy, January 1970, P2
Secular Democracy January 1970 P2

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