BJP’s sidelined leader Sanjay Joshi will be chief guest at an event being organised by a group of RSS volunteers and BJP workers in Lucknow on January 12, which marks the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.
Invitation to Joshi for the seminar on “Nationalism and Indian culture, basics of social equality” has been extended by the RSS even as top BJP leaders in the state continue to maintain their distance from him.
RSS’s Lucknow vibhag sanghchalak Jai Krishna Sinha will preside over the event, which is being organised by Deen Dayal Sewa Pratishthan, a unit of RSS volunteers. About the invitation to Joshi, Sinha said the leader is also an RSS worker and has been invited to a “non-political” event. Joshi, the former BJP national general secretary (organisation), was not available for comment.
Among those from BJP attending the event will be Lucknow municipal corporators Surya Kumar Verma, Devendra Verma, Vinod Singhal, Arun Tiwari, Dinesh Yadav and Ram Krishna.
Organisers of the event have also erected hoardings in Lucknow with messages in support of Joshi. One such message reads: ‘mushkilon me bhaag jaana aasaan hota hai. Har pal zindagi ka imtihaan hota hai, darne wale ko kuch nahin milta zindagi mein, aur ladne waalon ke kadmo me jahaan hota hai’.
Such support is in contrast to the distance mainatined by BJP leaders.
In September last year, a a blood donation camp held by BJP workers in Varanasi, for which Joshi had been invited, had to be cancelled following pressure from senior party leaders who themselves had maintained distance from the event, sources had informed.
Before that in April, some BJP leaders in Delhi had faced the wrath of the party’s top leadership for greeting Joshi on his birthday. Following this, a group of BJP workers in UP had set up ‘Sanjay Joshi Fan Club’ to demand his return to the party organisation.
Joshi, who had worked in UP before the 2011-12 Assembly polls, continued to do so ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as well. In the meantime, he was kept away from the BJP national executive reportedly under pressure from Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister.