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Mar 21, 2009 at 10:56pm IST

New RSS chief has BJP on his agenda too

New Delhi: He is smart, he is well-read and he is only 56.

With Mohan Rao Bhagvat taking the reins of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – the saffron outfit that inspires BJP’s political thought - Hindutva suddenly got a new and an energetic face.

The change of guard at the Nagpur headquarters of the RSS left the BJP looking a bit jaded.

While the average age of RSS regional heads is less than fifty, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L K Advani is a generation older than Bhagwat.

The BJP stuck to its old logic that age doesn't matter.

"He (Advani) might be 81 but he has the health of a 40 year old," said party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Of course, the first response of the BJP leadership was that it's happy. Bhagwat has a great working relationship with Advani.

The man who vacated the office for Bhagwat, K.Sudarshan had famously advised Advani to retire from politics.

With Bhagwat largely running the show for the past two years, Advani and the RSS have got along better.

But expect greater RSS involvement in the coming elections.

"Bhagwat is more politically attuned and has initiated a lot of reforms,” says journalist and BJP leader and Chandan Mitra.

Mohan Rao Bhagwat’s promotion as the RSS chief means a lot more energy and dynamism in the RSS.

For the BJP, it's both good and bad news - good because it helps the party stay closer to its roots and bad because the party might not like frequent interferences.

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