Prime minister Narendra Modi hosted his first dinner for leaders of the RSS at his Race Course residence, at a time when his confidant Amit Shah is finalising his new team ahead of assembly polls in four states.
The dinner talks followed a four-hour meeting earlier in the day between senior leaders of the party and the RSS at the residence of Union minister and former party president Nitin Gadkari. Party sources said the discussions revolved around the formation of the BJP president's office bearers' team, which assumes significance in the light of the upcoming assembly elections.
Modi's invitation to the RSS leaders is more of a goodwill gesture, according to a party functionary. It also indicates his keenness to ensure better coordination among government, party and sangh, on which he has been emphasising in his interactions with BJP leaders.
His predecessor in the NDA regime Atal Bihari Vajpayee too had invited RSS leaders at his official residence in what was seen as dinner diplomacy with the party's ideological mentor.
Modi's meeting with the Sangh leadership comes at a time when the party is in the process of finalising Shah's new team, preparing for assembly polls in Maharashtra, Haryana, J&K and Jharkhand and mulling over strategy for Delhi.
Shah, who took over as party chief on July 9, has already held the first round of meetings with leaders of election-bound states. But the foremost task before him is to get his new team in place. The first formal meeting between the BJP and RSS leaders on the issue was held on Thursday. Besides Gadkari, the meeting was attended from the party's side by home minister and former party chief Rajnath Singh, general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal and Shah. The Sangh leaders who attended the meeting were Bhaiyyaji Joshi, Suresh Soni, Dattatreya Hosabale and Krishna Gopal.
A party leader said Shah was business-like and would choose leaders who would do the job and deliver.
With several leaders moving from the organisation to the government, the party is likely to draw some leaders from the states. According to sources, the party could give representation to southern and eastern states where the BJP does not have political clout in the new team.
RSS leader Ram Madhav, who was recently deputed to work in the party, will also get a role in the new list of office bearers. Ram Madhav has been by Shah's side in the meetings held with leaders of election-bound states.