Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Modi, Rajnath thanked Bhagwat: BJP RSS workers played key role in campaign

New Delhi: The interesting and intriguing relationship between the BJP and the RSS is fodder for news organizations. When BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi and party president Rajnath Singh met RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat here on Sunday.

A senior party leader speaking on condition of anonymity – usually neither the BJP nor the RSS speak on record about each other except in anodyne terms – said that media speculation about Modi’s and Singh’s meetings with Bhagwat were misplaced. He said that RSS workers had played an important role in this election, and the BJP leaders had gone to Bhagwat to thank him.

He said that there were three other occasions when the RSS workers plunged into election campaign head on. The first was in 1977, the general election that Indira Gandhi called after ending the19-month Emergency. It was the historic election that saw Congress swept out of power for the first time at the centre. The BJP leaders acknowledge that it was due to the efforts of the ubiquitous RSS worker, who is not a party member.

The second time was in 1989, again an election that witnessed the dislodging of Congress led by Rajiv Gandhi out of power. This was after Rajiv’s landslide victory in 1984 in the wake of the assassination of Indira Gandhi. It is in the 1989 election that saw the emergence of the BJP as a significant national level political party with 80 seats. It was BJP’s support for V.P.Singh’s National Front Government that brought a non-Congress government to power at the centre, a second time after 1977.

The BJP leader felt that after 1991, the RSS worker was again seen in action in an intensive and extensive manner in this 2014 election. This acknowledgement of the RSS worker’s contribution to the party’s political fortune is an interesting indicator of the RSS-BJP symbiotic bonding.

Indirectly, this is also an indication that the RSS was not too enthusiastic about the BJP bid to power in the 2009 general election, where the campaign was led by the then prime ministerial candidate, L.K.Advani. As a matter of fact, one of the top RSS functionaries issued a press statement then that the victory of the Congress was good for the country.

Clearly, the RSS has changed its mind. The RSS is much happier with a BJP led by Modi, who is seed as a dyed-in-the-wool rightwing party’s faithful volunteer. Modi had been a RSS pracharak or volunteer/worker/preacher before he became part of the BJP’s political action.

There was a strong hint in 2007 Gujarat assembly election that Modi was his own man, and he brushed aside the cooperation of the RSS and its affiliate VHP. It is a known fact that Modi got the RSS nominee and BJP incharge in Gujarat Sanjay Joshi out the state as well as out of the party hierarchy.

It seems that Modi is now a mellow man, and that the BJP’s PM hopeful is reconciled to work with the RSS and on its part the RSS leadership too is willing to give him the psychological and organizational support he needs. At the moment, when BJP is looking for a dramatic victory in the national election, all is well between the RSS and the BJP, RSS and Modi.

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