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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 10, New Delhi, February 20, 2021

RSS and BJP are engaged in the fight for their survival | Arun Srivastava

Saturday 20 February 2021


by Arun Srivastava

Upsurge of the kisan mahapanchayats on massive scale in Haryana, Rjasthan and Punjab and broadening the base of the farmers’ movement has not only unnerved the RSS leadership but has also sharpened the contradiction between the Sangh and the Modi government. But to hide its nervousness the Godi media, the Modi government and the BJP-RSS combine has been citing the thinning out of the crowd at the borders as the movement losing the spirit and vigour. To counter the disinformation campaign, the farmers leaders have made certain tactical amendment in their strategy and had called upon the people to come back to the borders.

This manifests the realisation among the farmers that the BJP is their biggest enemy. Like Narendra Modi, the RSS initially also nursed the view that the agitation would not sustain for long and eventually fizzle out but in sharp contrast to their evaluation of the political-economic condition, human factors and ground realities that provided fodder to the agitation, it continued to spread. At the directions of the RSS, Modi and his aides tried to project the Satyagrah as Punjab centric protest. Their primary strategy was to project it as a localised agitation launched by the disgruntled Sikhs. The stigma of being a Khalistani supported agitation was stuck to it for containing its spread and eroding its credibility.

True enough the BJP and Modi have borrowed this phrase that the agitation is of Sikh farmers, from the RSS. Expansion of the base of the agitation also made the RSS realise that some immediate machination need to be launched to check the flow of the youths towards the movement. It is noticeable that a large mas of youths have been drawn to the movement and they have taken upon themselves the responsibility to counter the insinuation campaign against the movement and attempt to malign its leadership. It is a known fact that they have set up communication centre and have started publishing tractor nerwspaper to counter the disinformation launched by the pet (godi) media of Modi. They have also been preparing the videos of the movemene.

Their efforts have managed to stop the BJP’s malign campaign against the movement. The most important factor has been their a ctive participation has given a new direction to the movement. Being highly educated and well versed with the rules and laws governing the functioning of the government they have been effectively countering the misinformation campaign and also providing the correct information to the farmers living in the villages.

It is a fact that for the RSS and BJP the farmers have been the key support base for implementing their Hindutva agenda. In the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections the farmers of this region had voted for the BJP. Farmers even voted for BJP in assembly elections of the northern states. The victory of the BJP in the election has strengthened the perception of the BJP leadership that RSS was with them. There does not exist any contradiction between programmes and policies of the RSS and BJP .

RSS was scared of a situation where the BJP leadership or Modi would break and concede to the demand of the farmers. Precisely it was obeying to the directives of the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat that Modi hardened his attitude towards the farmers. The RSS has pointed out five reasons for not accepting the dmands of the farmers; first, it was not a country wide movement, second, it would not have any impact on the politics of country, third, no need for retreating as it would encourage others to resort to agitation and force the government to accede to their demands, fourth, mandi is the source of corruption and it encourages middlemen culture and fifth, the existing rules help create black money.

The fact cannot be denied that the RSS of Mohan Bhagwat is not the RSS of 1925 functioning under the leadership of Golwalkar. At that time ultra Hindutva was the prime mover. Now it is the class interest of the corporate and big business that has been guiding formulation of the pokicies of the RSS.The Sangh was opposed to FDI and privatisation but the same RSS has been supporting Modi in selling the national asset to private operators.

RSS is worried at stretching of the movement. It is afraid that lengthening of the farmers’ movement would nullify its ideological and political gains. It would lose the ground for giving a shape to its policy for Hindutva. What has been creating consternation for the RSS is it is finding it hard to look at the movement from the ideological point of its own Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, which was formed in 1978. Almost all the units that are functional in 301 villages will face the crisis of their existence. The RSS would lose its influence in the rural India. Already the RSS and BJP workers are being forced out of the villages in Haryana and Punjab.

The ideological predicament before the RSS is really acute and dreadful. Whether it should continue to identify with the BJP or pursue its own ideological and political line. In fact farmer has emerged as the major challenger to the RSS. The major contradiction that has been chasing the RSS is dumping the BJP at this crucial juncture would simply jeopardise and shatter its future.

The attack on the youths oughtto be seen in this backdrop. RSS knows that the middle class which has already been indoctrinated may remain loyal. But shifting of the loyalty of youth has the potential to even erode the loyalty of the middle class. Farmers at this cannot be divided into Hindutva versus Hindutva line. RSS will have to define its own brand of Hindutva, which Hindutva it preaches. In fact is going to watch a new kind of contradiction; power versus Sangh. This would happen in the backdrop of when power desperately needs Sangha and Sangha is dependent on power for its survival.

The immediate measure that the Modi government can resort to is to unleash a reign of terror on the youths and the protesters. The way the Modi government has been targeting the youths and students of JNU, Jamia Milia is testimony to it. State has launched the campaign to defame youth standing with farmers. Delhi police is the example. Though the police and the government are the real anti nationals, they are undermining the sovereignty of the country as was seen in the case of January 26 incident that took place in Red Fort the protesters and youths are being blamed and victimised. Their democratic rights are not only denied, instead it is being snatched away from them with judiciary turning a passive spectator.

RSS is aware that youth action has always shaken the status quo which is why it along with the BJP and Modi government is out to denigrate this force. We have been witness as to how it has been denigrating the character of Disha Ravi and others with the allegation that they have entered into conspiracy with foreign activists to malign India’s image. Since youths have always led from front any movement, they have risen against authoritarian regimes RSS-BJP combine intends to crush them. In India they have mobilised against communalism and religious hatred and abolition of democratic rights by the state.

Heavy-handed state actions are an attempt to terrorise dissenters. We have been witness to how the state is using laws like UAPA to suppress the voices of protest and dissent. Modi using the word “andolanjeevis” is the part of this onslaught.

The desperation of the BJP to win the assembly election in West Bengal is the manifestation of this strategy. The RSS and BJP are using at their command to ensure the defeat of Mamata Banerjee. This will help the BJP-RSS to check the upsurge of the farmers in northern India and also at the same time describing the movement as Punjab centric. To ensure a victory, the RSS has brought about massive change in its personnel manning the key posts. It has brought in experts those who can help BJP. The BJP is on the poaching mission. No state would have witnessed this nature of electioneering as Bengal is witnessing. The most sad aspect is the Left leaders, particularly the leaders of the CPI(M) are unable to see the electoral compulsion of the BJP. For them taking revenge onMamta for satisfying their personal ego is more important than foiling the plot of the RSS-BJP combine. There is no doubt Mamata losing the election will simply add to the strength of the RSS and would be a severe jolt to the farmers movement which has now acquired the dynamics of fight for democratisation of the Indian polity.

It would not be an exaggerations to say that the people of Punjab and Haryana are more politically conscious than the Marxists of West Bengal. They realised that voting the BJP to the Municipal bodies would simply go against the spirit of the farmers agitation for scrapping of the three farm laws, and in the final exercise they routed the BJP out of the state. In fact that came to realise rhat the BJP was the number one enemy of the people in the existing political perceptive.

Facing stiff opposition to the farm Bills from protesting Punjab farmers, the BJP now risks facing the wrath of food growers in neighbouring Haryana in the run-up to the panchayat election, with senior Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Gurnam Singh Chaduni leader on Sunday urging the farmers not to vote for those who are against their ongoing agitation.

Addressing a massive turnout at a Kisan Mahapanchayat at Indri town in Haryana’s Karnal district on Sunday, Chaduni said, “We request you (farmers) not to vote for those who don’t support you in this dharmayudh (battle for existence) if they stand in any election – be it for a panchayat or the Parliament.”

Though the farmer leader did not take any name, there was little doubt who he has gunning for as the ruling BJP-JJP coalition in the state has been facing protests over the farm laws brought by the Centre. Amid loud cheers from the crowd, Chaduni said, “Ensure they (BJP, JJP) don’t find any takers for their tickets to contest the upcoming elections. They shouldn’t find anyone who is willing to fight the election under their flags and on their tickets.”

But what we see in Bengal the personal dislike of Biman Bose and Adhir Choudhary of Congress has been most important reason for opposing Mamata. One thing is absolutely clear that these two leaders have been laying red carpet for the BJP for coming to power in Bengal.

Bengal contributes maximum to the agriculture produce. But it is sad the CPI(M) instead of organising the farmers and make them stand with the farmers of northern Indian states, have been more concerned of their petty electoral gains. Even while the capitalist countries provide massive subsidise to their farm sector, the pro-market and pro-capital Narendra Modi is not ready to grant a legal guaranteed to the minimum support price (MSP). But these Marxists are unfazed of this situation. Indian Marxists are best at polemics, but they are not bothered to find out the reasons for the aggressive and defiant stance of Narendra Modi towards the legalising MSP.

This attitude of the Congress and CPI(M) leaders makes a person sceptical. The secular leaders must have heard the speech of the number two person in Modi cabinet, Amit Shah, telling his cadres to use threat to make the opponents nervous. They should realise the nature and dimension of this suggestion coming from the most powerful person in the country. He is openly asking his persons to rake to violence. What a paradox instead of opposing his assertion, they have maintained a passive approach.

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