Published in India Today, 15 August 1993
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.
Thakre has presided over the party’s affairs for more than 40 years. He was an RSS full-timer, ‘loaned’ to the BJP for building up the organisation. The organisational elections two months ago demonstrated his power.
But it was the party’s dissidents who triumphed when Advani decided to get rid of Thakre in Madhya Pradesh. For a long time, dissidents had been complaining about Thakre’s role as protector only to his chosen group. His fall was meant to demonstrate Advani’s impartiality and to end factionalism.
The dissidents have not won everything though. It’s true that Advani appointed dissident Kailash Joshi as the national chief of the party’s Kisan Morcha; and Bhandari made Dilip Singh Judeo, another dissident leader, in charge of the Chhattisgarh region.
But the most prominent dissident, Pyarelal Khandelwal, was sent packing to Haryana.
The biggest setback, however, is for Patwa, who has relied on Thakre’s support to weather many a political storm. It means that Patwa and his colleagues in the dominant faction can no longer be sure of getting the lion’s share of party tickets during the next elections.
For the moment, though, everyone is waiting for the dust from the “kick-start” to settle before they decide on their next move.
India Today 15 August 1993