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Mohan Bhagwat ranks Nitish above Modi, RSS clarifies

PTI September 22, 2012 13:25 IST
New Delhi, Aug 11: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has given top marks to Bihar on good governance, but the RSS later clarified that Bhagwat gave no rating about ranking Nitish Kumar above Narendra Modi, reports the newspaper Mail Today. 

Bhagwat  had an hour-long question-and-answer session with the South Asian Foreign Correspondents Club here on Friday during which he named Bihar before Gujarat, while listing the states who have made a mark in development.

Soon after, the RSS clarified that no preferential rating for any state was given. “Bhagwat has not given any preferential rating for any state,” RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said.  

“ The question was what Bhagwat thought was the best state in terms of development. He answered: some say this state is better, the others claim their state is better. He even added some parts of Maharashtra were better developed. He did not rate any state."

Bhagwat's remarks came at a time when senior BJP leader L K Advani blogged to say that a non-Congress, non-BJP prime minister was expected to take office after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has already opposed the projection of Narendra Modi as a prime ministerial candidate by the BJP and he had sought sider consensus in the NDA on the right contender.  

Reacting to Bhagwat's praise of Bihar, JD( U) spokesman Neeraj Kumar said in Patna that the RSS chief had merely stated what everybody else had been talking about.

 “ From Microsoft founder Bill Gates to former President APJ Abdul Kalam to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, everybody has been talking about Bihar's development,” he said.  

JD( U)' s Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar, however, said his party had nothing to do with the RSS. “ We do not get affected either by the praise of the RSS or its criticism,” Anwar said.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)  general secretary Ram Kripal Yadav claimed the remark had exposed the CM's “ real face”. “ Bhagwat's praise has proved that Nitish has emerged as the bigger favourite of the RSS than Modi,” he said.  

Bhagwat  told the Foreign Correspondents Club that the Sangh was a pan-India organisation and it  was supporting the anti- corruption movements by Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare.

Bhagwat also said that the  RSS  was  “ not anti- Islam, it favours Hindutva”. On Pakistan, Bhagwat said: “ The RSS wants good relations with Pakistan. But peace cannot be made at the cost of self- respect.”  

On extremist voices like Pravin Togadia, Bhagwat said, “ The RSS advises such people when they cross the boundary.”