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Sangh’s unambiguous message to the BJP

The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh has evidently sent an unambiguous message to the political class in general and the BJP in particular following the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The RSS Sarsangchalak Mohan Bhagwat in a significant address to the cadres at Nagpur a few days ago, made some very important observations which were aimed at a […]

The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh has evidently sent an unambiguous message to the political class in general and the BJP in particular following the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The RSS Sarsangchalak Mohan Bhagwat in a significant address to the cadres at Nagpur a few days ago, made some very important observations which were aimed at a much larger audience as to include the political parties. The speech of the RSS chief has to be viewed in the context of the neutrality of the RSS cadres during the polls where they did not support the BJP like the previous two times. This resulted in the BJP not being able to secure a majority of its own and landed with 63 seats lesser than in 2019.

The RSS has been the backbone of the Saffron Brigade and it is widely known that it is one of the principal factors in the growth of the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and before him Atal Behari Vajpayee, Lal Krishan Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi and virtually all prominent BJP leaders had RSS roots. The Sangh has played a major role in their political journey so to dismiss Bhagwat’s candid views would be a folly. In fact, the RSS chief’s comments are a wake-up call for the BJP and an opportunity for it to shape up for the future. Bhagwat had advised the karyakartas to be modest and humble and not arrogant. He said that no one can ever be a sewak unless he possesses all these virtues. Political circles have interpreted the RSS Chief’s speech as a note of caution for the BJP and its leaders.

He has also condemned the kind of language used during the campaigning by all sides and has noted that the discourse should never have been so low. Public life needs to have a certain code, and it should always be kept in mind that political rivalry was not the same as enmity. Differences of opinion were a part of our diversity and should be accepted. Bhagwat also made it clear that it has never been the objective of the Sangh to have a “Congress Mukt’’ Bharat, a remark that sought to distance the RSS from the common belief that it was against the grand old party and its ideology. It was also admission of the fact that the Congress doctrine was deep-rooted and in virtually every nook and corner of the country, and to wish it away would be a folly.

The RSS has in the past supported the Congress in the larger interest of the then prevailing political situation which required the country to remain strong and stable. It had happened in 1980 when the Janata Party experiment had failed and the erstwhile Jana Sangh members were accused of holding dual membership by leaders such as Madhu Limaye and Raj Narain. Indira Gandhi was on the comeback trail and the RSS leadership took the decision to assist the Congress in the larger interests of the country at that time and in order to provide a stable government. Similar decision was taken in 1984 where following Indira Gandhi’s brutal assassination at the hand of her security guards, the Sangh decided to back Rajiv Gandhi.

The Congress in that election secured more than 400 seats, a historic and record-breaking feat. The RSS contribution was there but the Nation had paid its homage to the greatest mass leader of the last century by standing behind her son in that hour of grief. An interesting and strong bond between Rajiv Gandhi and Bhaurau Deoras, the younger brother of the then RSS Chief Balasaheb Deoras was the outcome of this support.

The RSS is in its centenary year, and knows that unless it asserts itself and reiterates its basic beliefs, its relevance would be diminished. It has always upheld the theory of One Nation One People while acknowledging the diversity. It has also kept the country above its own organization and the individual is placed at the very last. The Sangh has realized that many of its principles have been diluted in the past few years and the Sangh activists needed to be reminded of their basic responsibility of being disciplined, in order to motivate them. Bhagwat has been also critical of the overall political discourse, and underlined the need to maintain dignity, decorum and maryada. He has emphasized on the importance of being civil at all times while not endorsing politics of vendetta.

The expected debate which has resulted from this speech in Nagpur has raised many crucial questions. These include whether it was fair to bring in leaders from other political parties where the ideological inclinations were different, and foist them on top of the BJP and Sangh karyakartas who had served the people for many years. In Maharashtra, an article appearing in the “Organiser’’, considered to be the official mouth piece of the RSS, which is critical of the BJP’s alliance with the NCP headed by Ajit Pawar, has evoked strong reactions from the partners of the ruling dispensation there.

Elsewhere also there is intense resentment amongst BJP workers, who were overlooked by their party which preferred to give tickets to those who had come from outside. Overall, Bhagwat’s speech is important and cautions the BJP leadership. Simultaneously, it has to be understood that politics has its own compulsions and is guided by the events that take place, rather than by any ideological compass. This has been so in the past and shall remain so in the future.
Pankaj Vohra

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BJPlok sabha elections 2024OpinionRSSTDGThe Daily Guardian