July 30, 2021

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Whatever the distance was between the Sangh and the BJP, it is getting erased.

 

Writers: Neelam Mahajan Singh
Assembly elections will be held in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur, Goa, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh next year. Of these, only Punjab has a Congress government. BJP in the remaining six states. There is pressure on BJP to perform well in these states. On the other hand, due to the Corona epidemic, the economic condition of the country has remained bad in the last one and a half years, unemployment is increasing and the effect of the government’s economic packages has not been visible on the ground.

the hard way
In the name of election preparation in Uttar Pradesh, there were fast meetings of the top leadership of the party and the leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. There was a wind to remove Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. There was also a tussle over Modi’s alleged favorite former IAS officer Arvind Kumar Sharma being set in the Yogi government. The BJP knows that if its government is not formed in Uttar Pradesh next year, then the road to coming to power at the Center for the third time in a row will become difficult. In such a situation, BJP has gone to the shelter of the Sangh regarding Uttar Pradesh. Although the Sangh’s power behind BJP has been there since the inception of the party, but the party never accepted it openly. But in recent years, the thin layer between the BJP and the Sangh has rapidly eroded. Most of the political and important administrative appointments in the government are being made only after the consent of the Sangh. The union had also agreed to make JP Nadda the BJP president.

Training of volunteers at RSS headquarters in Nagpur (Photo: BCCL)

When Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister of the country, I had interviewed the then Sarsanghchalak Professor Rajendra Singh alias ‘Rajju Bhaiya’ for Doordarshan. He later introduced me to KS Sudarshan. I understood the Sangh through Sudarshan ji. LK Advani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Kedarnath Sahni had a close relationship with the Sangh. The Sangh played a meaningful role in the success of BJP from the beginning. Today Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu are the favorites of the Sangh. The Sangh has also played an important role in the election of Finance Minister, Defense Minister, External Affairs Minister and Home Minister. Sangh chief Dr. Mohan Bhagwat, Saha Sarkaryavah Dr. Krishna Gopal and Dr. Indresh Kumar are currently playing the role of coordination between the Sangh and the government.

It is not that earlier BJP union ministers and leaders did not interact with the Sangh or consult them on policy issues, but this used to happen only at the level of some leaders earlier. Senior BJP leaders have been participating in the Sangh meetings and efforts have been made to coordinate the discussions there with the programs of the government. Even former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee used to meet the leaders of the Sangh. He gave primacy in his government to those who were not of Sangh background. Such as Brajesh Mishra, Jaswant Singh or Yashwant Sinha. The RSS was not happy with this.

When the BJP first came to power at the Center in 1998, Vajpayee’s decision to make Jaswant Singh the finance minister was rescinded hours before his swearing-in. This was done under pressure from the union. In the NDA government, LK Advani was promoted as Deputy Prime Minister, under pressure from the union. However, when Advani praised Mohammad Ali Jinnah during his later visit to Pakistan, the Sangh did not support him. There was so much pressure on him from the Sangh that he had to leave the post of party president.

Obviously there is an unbreakable relationship between the Sangh and the BJP. The BJP and its earlier incarnation, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, were conceived as the political front of the RSS. In fact, the split in the Janata Party took place only on the issue of dual membership of Jan Sangh and RSS. Since the fifties, the organization secretary of the Jana Sangh or BJP has been an RSS worker. The Sangh is playing the role of mentor and advisor to the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is conscious of the spirit of the Sangh and many of his initiatives are supported by the Sangh. In this context, mention can be made of the recent ceasefire with Pakistan and efforts to restore peace on the border. For a long time, Pakistan had been firing from across the border in Jammu and Kashmir, to which the Indian Army gave a befitting reply. But some time ago both the countries announced the restoration of peace on the border. It was decided that the shelling would be stopped. This initiative of India and Pakistan has been successful. The RSS has agreed to this move of the BJP government at the Center regarding Pakistan.

the cover will remain
Now there has been an open mix between the party and the Sangh. The favorite people of the Union are appointed to important posts in the Ministry of Human Resource Development. On the issue of ‘what the government is doing and what is not doing’, an evaluation meeting was held a few years back under the chairmanship of the Sangh chief, in which almost the entire cabinet along with top leaders of the Sangh attended. Now it is not considered objectionable to seek the guidance of the Sangh leadership at the individual level or the Prime Minister seeks guidance from the Sangh. BJP’s Kavach Sangh will remain in the future also. The political power of the Congress in the country is undoubtedly weak, but political challenges will continue to come before the BJP. The states where elections are to be held next year will be a big test for him. In such a situation, the situation of Sangham Sharanam Gachami will remain for BJP.

(The writer is a senior journalist and political analyst)

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are those of the author.