When LK Advani kicked out Kushabhau Thakre from Madhya Pradesh on charge of groupism

Kushabhau Thakre

NK SINGH

Published in India Today, 15 August 1993

The decision by L.K. Advani to “kick start” party politics in Madhya Pradesh has begun with taking away General Secretary Kushabhau Thakre’s charge of the state.

It has created a storm amongst the rank and file who viewed Thakre as a father figure. Thakre’s charge being handed over to Sunder Singh Bhandari has also upset Vijaya Raje Scindia, former chief minister Sunderlal Patwa and party manager Kailash Sarang as they are all part of Thakre’s inner circle. Continue reading “When LK Advani kicked out Kushabhau Thakre from Madhya Pradesh on charge of groupism”

A bottle of Old Monk and the mystery of midnight tryst

NK SINGH

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. 

Continue reading “A bottle of Old Monk and the mystery of midnight tryst”

ओल्ड मोंक की बोतल और आधी रात की मुलाक़ात

091218-pr-in-in-06-07.indd

Prajatantra 9 Dec 18

A bottle of Old Monk and the midnight tryst

NK SINGH

जब भी मैं आरएसएस के बारे में सोचता हूँ तो भाजपा के भूतपूर्व अध्यक्ष कुशाभाऊ ठाकरे की छवि आंखों के सामने आ जाती है.

सभ्रांत किसान जैसे दिखने वाले ठाकरे अपनी तपस्वी जैसी जीवन शैली के लिए जाने जाते थे. संघ के ज्यादातर प्रचारकों की तरह ठाकरे भी आजीवन कुंवारे रहे.

अस्सी के दशक की शुरुआत में जब मेरी उनसे पहली मुलाक़ात हुई तो वे पुराने भोपाल के सोमवारा इलाके में पार्टी ऑफिस के नीचे एक कमरे में रहते थे.

कमरे के एक कोने में एक तख़्त पर उनका बिस्तर था, एक मेज थी और आगंतुकों के लिए चंद कुर्सियां. एक घड़ा भी था, जिससे निकालकर आप पानी पी सकते थे.

वह छोटा कमरा उनका शयन कक्ष था, ड्राइंग रूम था, अध्ययन कक्ष था, डाइनिंग रूम था और गेस्ट रूम था.

कभी-कभार जब वे लंच पर मुझे आमंत्रित करते तो बगल के हिस्से में रहने वाले कार्यालय मंत्री कैलाश सारंग के घर से थाली आ जाती थी.

पहले तो सीलिंग फैन भी नहीं था. एक ही टेबल फैन था जिसे सारंगजी का परिवार इस्तेमाल करता था और कभी कोई आगंतुक आ जाये तो उसकी हवा ठाकरेजी की तरफ मोड दी जाती थी.

यह उस प्रभावशाली नेता की जीवन शैली थी जो मुख्यमंत्री बनाने या हटाने की ताकत रखता था.

इसलिए जब संघ परिवार के एक चमकते हुए सितारे, एकनाथ गोरे से भोपाल में मेरी पहली मुलाक़ात हुई तो मैं सकते में आ गया. Continue reading “ओल्ड मोंक की बोतल और आधी रात की मुलाक़ात”

Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Out But Not Down

NK SINGH

 

Mujhe door ka dikhayi deta hai,

Mein deewar par likha padh sakta hoon,

Magar haath ki rekhayen nahin padh sakta.

(I can see far ahead,

I can read the writing on the wall,

But I cannot read the lines on my own palm.)

-A poem written by Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birthday in 1993.

If politics is the art of the possible, what the BJP tried to achieve was virtually the impossible. The party’s failure to win over even one additional MP-its strength on May 28 stood at 194, the same as when its government was sworn in on May 16-demonstrated its inability to read the signals: that the new liberal mask had convinced no one. Continue reading “Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Out But Not Down”