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Father, Son and the Push towards Hindutva Agenda


Ram Puniyani

In the middle of the General elections BJP President, J.P.Nadda stated that BJP is now more capable and does not need the support of RSS for election work. It is well known that so far in most elections most of the progeny of RSS and RSS itself backed up the election work for BJP. After the diminished performance of BJP in these elections now there is a major statement from RSS Chief (Sarsanghchalak) Dr. Mohan Bhagwat about the conduct of parties during elections. Though couched in general language it is directed mainly to Modi and BJP. In addition a top RSS functionary Indresh Kumar also stated that it is due to arrogance due to which BJP seat share has declined. RSS quickly disowned this statement and Indresh Kumar withdrew it and certified that only under Modi’s leadership India can progress. Many commentators have taken the statement of Dr. Bhagwat as a sign of rift between RSS and BJP.

What did he say? In the concluding speech to the RSS training camp, he stated that during elections dignity and values of our culture have not been maintained. The opposition has been treated as the enemy while the opposition should be treated as articulating the alternate viewpoint, and attempts should be made to arrive at consensus between the ruling and opposition parties. He lamented the continuing violence in Manipur. He also talked about the rising arrogance.

While couched in general terms all this is aimed at Modi-BJP. One recalls Modi’s use of Mangalsutra, Mujra, buffalo, INDIA alliance giving all the reservations to Muslims among other falsehoods in blunt and uncultured manner. Surely the decrease in seats of BJP might have only marginally been affected by it. The major reason for decline of BJP vote share and seats is due to the people’s problems oriented narrative put forward by INDIA alliance. It rightly raised the issues of rising prices, rising unemployment, regular paper leaks, and farmer’s issues and rising poverty. Its language was generally dignified unlike the crass phrases and blunt articulations done by Modi in particular. While INDIA presented a fairly united front at many places, for BJP-NDA Modi, who had declared himself as God, was the central figure around whose name the elections were fought by NDA.

So why has this step been undertaken by Bhagwat? If he was serious about these issues why did he not open his mouth so far? Why was he mute when Mahua Moitra and Rahul Gandhi were expelled from Parliament or when 146 MPs were suspended? Why was he quiet when Modi was using crass language during elections? Why has Bhagwat been mum on Manipur violence. Surely he has no interest in any of these issues raised in his speech. He knew if he opened his mouth on these issues BJP’s electoral fortunes would dip, and that is not acceptable to Bhagwat.

So why is he opening his mouth now? Modi’s methods during election campaigns have lowered the dignity of his and his party even among sections of the populace who are not diehard supporters of BJP. Its credibility has been hit and its parliamentary misdemeanor has further enhanced the dictatorial image of Modi. So Bhagwat wants to tone down those effects to protect RSS progeny BJP from damages in the future elections.

As such Bhagwat knows that Modi has fulfilled the Hindutva agenda in the best possible way. Article 370 has been abrogated, magnificent Ram Temple has been inaugurated and UCC is now implemented in one state while the central initiative on this is in the pipeline. It must have been a matter of joy for RSS that issues of Cow-beef and love jihad have come on the centre stage further intimidating the Muslim community. The ghettoisation of Muslim community is on the rise as exemplified by the case in Gujarat where a Muslim state employee allotted a quarter is opposed by the other residents on the pretext that this one Muslim family will be a threat to the housing complex as such.

How Muslims are made invisible all round is also seen by the fact that in schools the likes of Tripta Tyagi can ask all the class students to slap their Muslim classmate one by one. The stories of Muslims families not getting housing in the localities are infinite and shameful. With Modi in the lead the present Central Ministry does not have a single Muslim minister. BJP did not field a single candidate in the elections.

RSS has been the major beneficiary during the Modi rule. The number of its branches has proliferated to more than double. The pro RSS ideology academics have important places in colleges and Universities. The textbooks have been saffronised. For example now Babri mosque is not addressed as a mosque but a three dome structure. In the name of the Indian Knowledge System the faith based knowledge is being promoted and things like Darwin’s theory or Periodic Table are out from the text books.

So, why is there this storm in the teacup? As the BJP is far short from the majority, the allies like Niteesh and Naidu have to be taken along. Modi right from Gujarat Chief Minister days has worked in full majority with total and unquestioned say in the Government. In 2014 and 2019, the NDA was for namesake. Even the BJP was there for formalities sake. All decisions were taken by Modi himself, be it the Corona lockdown or demonetization, or promotion of Adani-Ambani, he had the first and last word. So can he take along Niteesh and Naidu? Niteesh has already got the caste census in his state while Naidu has four percent reservation of backward Muslims.

It is true that these allies operate more at pragmatic level rather than at the level of principles, still in future some differences are likely to crop up. So it is a gentle way of telling Modi to mend his dictatorial ways. It is also a slight hint for the search for a more accommodative person to lead the NDA.

As such RSS must be all smiles as its agenda has gone several notches up, slight ego clashes as seen in the behavior of Modi don’t matter in the long run to the fountainhead of Hindu nationalist ideology.