"RSS never said personalities cannot or should not dominate the political scene," RSS national spokesperson Ram Madhav said on Tuesday when asked if the decision-making powers in the BJP were being concentrated in Modi.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has been recently accused of sidelining its party veterans. Murli Manohar Joshi, former BJP president and sitting MP from Varanasi, was made to vacate his seat for Narendra Modi, whereas Jaswant Singh was not allowed to contest from Barmer.

The BJP instead pitted Colonel (retired) Sonaram Chaudhary from the Barmer constituency.   

The decision was made public through a press statement and party insiders say it was influenced by Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

Jaswant Singh later filed nomination as an Independent candidate from Barmer.
Madhav, however, distanced himself from the issue, saying the RSS never interfered in the BJP’s political decisions.

Madhav said there was ‘nothing bad in personality cult in politics’ so long as core ideologies are not compromised.  Madhav denied that the increasing clout of Modi was a cause of concern for the RSS.

“There is nothing bad in promoting somebody who could get you votes. We have only said that principles guiding the party should not be diluted,” he added.

Manindra Thakur, professor of political science at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and noted poll analyst, said the BJP may not be sidelining the veterans without the knowledge or approval of the RSS.

However, other experts are of the opinion that the rising stature of Modi may soon become a thorny issue for the RSS too.

“There is a Modi wave going on in the sense that he is acknowledged to be the strongest candidate. But the RSS will eventually not like such a personality cult in the politics of the BJP," said Kamal Chenoy of the Aam Aadmi Party.

"Even if Modi won and became the prime minister, the RSS will try to stop him from becoming a larger than life figure. They may just prefer somebody from the old guard such as Advani again, if Modi fails in the election," added Chenoy.

The Congress, which has been strongly favouring the marginalised sections and talking of empowering women and the poor, is likely to benefit if it manages to convince the electorate that the BJP is concentrating power in industry and Modi.