The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS said today that there is no change in its stand on Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
"RSS's stand on Article 370 has not changed, we will never compromise on it," said Dattatreya Hosabale, tipped by many to be the next RSS general secretary, a powerful post in the organisation. "We will wait for the situation to improve. If it doesn't improve then things will be decided," he added.
The RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP and Mr Hosabale's assertion could raise another red flag in the strained relations between the party and its latest ally, the People's Democratic Party or the PDP in J&K.
The RSS has in the past demanded the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution which grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir. But a common minimum programme that the BJP has worked out to govern the state along with the PDP states "present constitutional status to be maintained."
The BJP and the PDP, ideological opposites, took two months to arrive at a clearly tenuous consensus on several key issues. Since the new government under chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was sworn in 13 days ago, there have been multiple flashpoints that have seemed to bring the alliance to breakpoint.
Mr Hosabale said despite recent incidents like the release of separatist Masarat Alam, the BJP-PDP alliance must be given a chance. "The country is angry. We don't think what is happening in Jammu and Kashmir is right, but we should not conclude that the government has failed," he said, adding, "We are seeing teething problems from day one but the attempt is to bring in change, a chance must be given."
Bhaiyyaji Joshi currently holds the position and RSS sources said he is likely to be re-elected. But there is much speculation that Mr Hosabale, said to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, might take over.
BJP chief Amit Shah is attending the RSS meet.