Invoking the Hindu concept of 'vanaprastha', the RSS has advised Lal Krishna Advani, 86, and Murli Manohar Joshi, 80, not to press for "responsibilities". The two veterans have been told to be satisfied with being hailed as patriarchs and mentors of the party. In short, the party seems to be getting ready to put them both out to pasture.
Advani craves to be speaker, which is the only constitutional position available to him now. Joshi, on the other hand, wants to be part of Modi's core team, which includes party president Rajnath Singh, his close confidante Arun Jaitley and former BJP president and Nagpur MP Nitin Gadkari.
Sushma Swaraj could also figure in that elite club. Another name that's being talked about is that of Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar. Speculation is rife that he may relocate to Delhi and could also be among the "top four", most likely as home minister. Party general secretary JP Nadda could be assigned an MoS post.
According to sources close to Advani, RSS leaders told him that politicians above 75 should not take major responsibilities. They hinted that both Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi should act as mentors of the party. But it has been left to the patriarchal duo whether to accept the advice or not.
The RSS's decision to discourage Advani and Joshi from demanding "responsibilities" in the Modi dispensation fits in well with Modi's recent statement that "for the first time the country will be ruled by those who were born after India gained Independence."
Modi repeated the same statement in Vadodara on May 16, in Varanasi on May 17 and finally in the Central Hall of Parliament on May 20.
Sources in the BJP, who are close to RSS, told dna that senior Sangh leaders have conveyed to Advani and Joshi that Modi should be allowed a free hand in government-formation. Most RSS leaders have already left the capital ahead of Modi's swearing in on May 26, saying that their "job has been done".
But Advani is single-minded in his pursuit to become speaker even as Joshi is bent on becoming a minister, with a "heavyweight portfolio", if nothing else Human Resources Development ministry, which he held in the Vajpayee government.
Barring Rajnath Singh and Jaitley, no one in the BJP is certain of a ministerial berth, since Modi is keeping all decisions close to his "56-inch chest".