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RSS puts agenda on hold to give Narendra Modi a free run by Chandrakant Naidu

1 June-2014: On the day Narendra Modi was being sworn in as the prime minister along with his council of ministers, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was conducting a two-day conference for junior volunteers in Bhopal. He was monitoring the preparations for a national brainstorming session for the Sangh pracharaks to be held in the town from 30 July to 2 August. The Sangh, sources say, is expected discuss strategies on the implementation of the Sangh agenda on Ram Temple, Uniform Civil Code and revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

RSS puts agenda on hold to give Narendra Modi a free run by Chandrakant Naidu

RSS puts agenda on hold to give Narendra Modi a free run by Chandrakant Naidu

Bhagwat’s absence from Modi’s grand inauguration did not come as a surprise. The Sangh had given ample hints about this after the results were announced. Now that the elections are over the party, the government and the Sangh must go back to their respective jobs, said a functionary of the RSS. The message being sent out is that the government is not remote-controlled. Volunteers have been told not to expect personal benefits from the party they have just installed in power. More importantly, Bhagwat has conveyed he would be the Sangh’s sole interlocutor with the prime minister on organisational issues. The carte blanche to Modi is apparently extended for a year. The RSS and the BJP, through years in power at the Centre and in some states, have realised the need to draw some lines after the Sangh representatives into the party turned into power centres and developed vested interests. Suresh Soni, who was the RSS point person to deal with BJP-ruled governments, had to be removed after allegations of fuelling factionalism. Bhagwat’s deputy Bhaiyyaji Joshi was then assigned the job. Now with Modi as prime minister Bhagwat has decided to be the bridge between the prime minister and the Sangh. The changing equations between the Sangh and its political arm make an interesting study. In the 1920s two qualified doctors Narayan Subbarao Hardikar and Keshav Baliram Hedgewar — both active and promising members of the Indian National Congress– founded two parallel organisations– the Sewa Dal and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The RSS went on to mother another national party— Bharatiya Jan Sangh in 1951 (now the BJP) while the Sewa Dal has for long remained a neglected offspring of the Congress. Jan Sangh founder Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, who was arrested in Kashmir in 1953 and subsequently died in jail, had partly visualised his party’s future when he found an able aide in Deendayal Upadhyay. As national general secretary Upadhyay impressed Dr Mukherjee. “If I had two Deendayals, I could transform the political face of India,” Mukherjee once said. In 15 years, Upadhyay built the Jan Sangh by raising a band of dedicated workers drawn largely from the RSS. Upadhyay believed an independent and historic nation like India can do without Western concepts of socialism, democracy, communism or capitalism. “We are pledged to the service not of any particular community or section but of the entire nation. Every countryman is blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh.” he had said. The Jan Sangh hardly ever challenged the Congress. But, it did groom leaders like, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Sunder Singh Bhandari and LK Advani who convincingly represented it when it turned into a constituent of the Janata Party government in 1977. From just being a rallying point for the forces opposed to the Congress the BJP, founded in 1980 on its divorce from the Janata Party, has come a long way to displace the Congress. The Congress which represents a broader vision of the nation could boast of Indira Gandhi when it bounced back in 1980 a couple of years after being swept out of power. With little likelihood of a similar leadership emerging soon the Congress is in for a long haul. The RSS has not been averse to the party importing a big chunk of candidates for the recent Lok Sabha elections from the Congress and other parties that it targeted for various reasons. When the Aam Aadmi Party awakened the voter against the conventional parties and politicians the Sangh had warned its volunteers and the BJP members against complacency. Even the members who have had no RSS background acknowledge the advantages of the party’s Sangh moorings. The Sangh and BJP know that mandate for Modi government is for five years and not five months. The noises on issues like Article 370, or Uniform Civil Code or the Ram Temple are apparently to keep the cadre engaged and votes polarised for the forthcoming assembly elections in some states.

(Input source: FP)

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