RSS and Union govt’s performance

Arun Srivastava

With expansion of the sakhas losing momentum in recent months, the RSS is worried about the future of its Hindutva agenda. After the Narendra Modi government coming to power the RSS sakhas have mushroomed and a large number of individuals got enrolled as members. But for the past one year stagnancy has crept in. Even some of the sakhas have been disbanded as the turnout at the congregations has been poor.
The Sangh bosses nurse the feeling that this was a manifestation of Modi losing charm and his government shedding sheen. For the RSS this certainly does not augur well. The RSS bosses feel that the Modi government has failed to catch the imagination of the common people. It was getting detached from the masses. At least on two occasions RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat expressed his displeasure at the handling of issues of national importance by the Modi government. Sangh affiliates Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch and Laghu Udyog Bharati have been highly critical of Modi and his government for their failure to check the erosion of the economy.
Most significantly, he did not endorse the common perception that cow vigilantes have been resorting to violence and mercenary-type actions. Bhagwat was emphatic that the campaign for cow protection should continue without caring for the “play of words” like “vigilantism” which, according to him, were being used to demonise the campaign. “Our Constitution mandates cow protection. But nowadays, some people have embroiled it in controversial language,” he said.
“It is unfair to link cow protectors or the entire activity of cow protection with violent incidents or communal feelings. Cow protectors and promoters who are piously involved in the activity should not worry or get distracted by well-intentioned statements from highly placed persons in the government, or remarks made by the Supreme Court,” Bhagwat said. “Many activists, who were peacefully involved in cow protection, were attacked and killed. This issue is neither discussed nor being inquired into,” he added.
The fact of the matter is that Modi has to face huge embarrassment even at the international level for violence by the cow vigilantes. But shockingly, Bhagwat does not find any fault with them; instead he is lauding their conduct. His speeches at Nagpur and Delhi make it explicit that Bhagwat is in a hurry to see his pet agenda Hindutva becoming a reality before the 2019 elections; otherwise he would not have forced the Modi government to rush even in the face of electoral challenges.
In the Sangh circle the Modi government is being perceived as a non-performing administration. It is not that the BJP leadership is unaware of this development. Even Modi detests this attitude of Sangh leaders. Some senior BJP leaders also question the parameters on which the RSS was scrutinising the performance of the BJP and the Modi government. According to them, the Modi government is a constitutionally elected body and it must ensure that public interest is not jeopardised or hurt. But the BJP leaders are helpless. They cannot assert. 
The proactive assertion by the Sangh is not liked by the BJP leaders, particularly by those close to Modi. They hold that the Sangh must refrain from influencing and dictating to BJP and the government. They are also not ready to follow the advice of the RSS to refrain from giving too much credence to political turncoats and deserters from other parties and present BJP as the rehabilitation centre for such disgruntled elements. The BJP leaders believe that in order to make a Congress mukta Bharat it is imperative to broaden the base of the BJP and allow entry of leaders from other parties.
There is murmuring in the BJP as to how an elected government can allow RSS as an extra-constitutional body to guide it. In fact Modi and his ministerial colleagues are angry with the leaders of the frontal organizations for resorting to violence, humiliating the administration and challenging the authority of the government. They are shocked that the RSS, by goading such elements, is deriding the Modi government and the BJP.
Their activities have turned people skeptical. Questions are being raised in the public domain about the nature of the government and governance; about who is running this country. What happened to the mandate? The Sangh frontal organizations have already been criticising the NDA government. Even in Jammu and Kashmir, Hindutva organisations observed a shutdown on September 18 against the activities of the BJP leaders. Leela Sharma, state president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, had said the resentment in Jammu was targeted at the state BJP. In fact, to echo their voice, the RSS chief reiterated that “necessary constitutional amendments” were needed for the people of Jammu and Kashmir to be “completely assimilated” with the rest of the country. He said: “Necessary constitutional amendments will have to be made and old provisions will have to be changed in that State.” It is certainly a bad omen for the country that the Prime Minister could not muster courage to speak on the face of the RSS chief. He was behaving like a hapless swayamsevak.
The RSS has also alerted the BJP about the shift in the public mood. The only panacea for the malaise, according to Mohan, is to amend the Constitution and incorporate Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra in it. He strongly emphasised that these two are imperative for the survival of India. Though the RSS leaders do not publicly speak against the New India (2017-22) agenda of Modi, they nurse the feeling that this would confuse and swerve the dynamics of the Hindu Rashtra. (IPA)

Wednesday, 4 October, 2017