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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 37 September 9, 2023

Modi acts in accordance with the directions and desires of RSS chief | Arun Srivastava

Saturday 9 September 2023


Vishwa Hindu Parishad heralding its rebirth and reinventing itself after so many years by taking out a rally in Nuh of Haryana, should not be perceived as a simple move to revive the Hindu outfit, instead, it ought to be grasped in a wider political setting. The VHP had already taken out a Jalabhishek Yatra on July 31, but it had to be abandoned midway after violence broke out after the participants targeted the Muslims. Once again VHP announced their plan to resume the yatra on August 28 in Nuh. This time the organisers extended an invitation to their members and cadres in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and other parts of Haryana to be part of the yatra. The message is loud and clear.

It would be wrong to construe that it was a simple and isolated incident. An insight into the VHP design would make it abundantly clear that it has a bigger and far bearing implication than is visible. Though the RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale had criticised the functioning of Modi and his government, the RSS did not censor him. The RSS mouth organ Organiser notwithstanding carrying an edit that Modi has lost the charisma to polarise the Hindus and carry forward the agenda of politics of Hindutva, the RSS continued to stand by him. If really RSS was not happy with his governance or sensed lack of his commitment towards the RSS’s cause, it would not have spared him. RSS is known for his illiberal and tough actions.

RSS in a strategic move while allowed Modi to continue with his style of using the government tools, it reactivated organisational apparatus to keep the Hindu flock together. This is clearly manifest in the reemergence of VHP as the face of new Hindutva. It is not that RSS makes a decision at the eleventh hour. It is ready with its plans long ahead of its actual implementation. It was the part of its strategy to allow the organisations to make effective intervention in the political scenario that news of differences between the RSS and Modi have started moving around in the political circle.

This was also aimed at projecting Modi as an imposing ruler. RSS did not intend to give the impression that Modi was acting at the behest of the RSS and was committed to accomplish its task. With this in view RSS tried to distance itself from the impression prevailing in the political circle that Modi was protégé of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. Modi and his cabinet ministers attending the RSS meet and briefing the ensemble simply endorsed the peoples’ perception. This was detrimental for the RSS. It was after this the RSS tried to maintain a distance from the government. It was again a strategic move to distance itself from the politically wrong decisions of Modi.

With Modi asserting his authority an opinion was consciously created that RSS has lost its authority, has turned weak and the political power has been completely subsumed by Modi. The post-Pulwama scenario convinced the RSS leadership that Modi could not be relied upon for accomplishing its mission of converting India into a Hindu Rashtra. Modi with the help of his Chanakya Amit Shah had managed to chalk out his own strategy for expansion of RSS and polarising the Hindus. But the programmes were incompatible.

Modi and Shah looked at the Indian scenario through their Gujarat prism. But they were mistaken. In Gujarat the Modi-Shah succeeded by using strong arm tactics and resorting to torture and repression, but this backfired in case of India, as they could not understand India. Notwithstanding ruthlessly using the ED director Sanjay Mishra, the duo could not force the opposition leaders to toe their lines. They no doubt got scared. But they bounced back and formation of I N D I A symbolises their determination to fight.

It is strange how could Mohan Bhagwat allow Modi to deviate from the Sangh political line and behave like a non-political element, resorting to use of violence, terror, torture and coercion. Modi knew it well that he could not survive in case the RSS withdrew its support. Obviously, it would not be wrong to construe that his anti-democratic and anti-people actions had the blessings of RSS. Primarily RSS has not only been responsible, but it has been the motivating force for Modi to not to take action against the Hindi supremacists indulging in violent and murderous acts.

An insight into the latest developments would make it explicit that RSS has not turned weak. Instead it has put Modi on trial. In his desperation to retrieve his ground and prove his complete loyalty to RSS he has been resorting to irrational and non-political actions. His latest emphasis on India would celebrate 100 years of freedom in 2047 is the manifestation of this desperation. He has to win the 2024 Lok Sabha election if he desires to continue to be in the good book of RSS and especially Bhagwat.

With news emanating from the RSS head quarter at Nagpur that RSS was looking for alternative face to lead the BJP to the Lok Sabha polls, Modi has put his every thing at stake. Time is running short for Modi. He has to prove his worth before the Election Commission announces the date for the elections. While he has been contemplating to use the G 20 meet to bolster his image among the rich, upper middle class and neo rich middle class, he is also striving to win over the trust of the corporate sector.

His emphasis that India will be a developed nation by 2047 and exhorting 140 crore Indians not to pause or step back from that dream ought to be seen in this perspective. He intends to make sure that these people do not turn susceptible. These people are only concerned of their own benefits and Modi was trying to convince them that he would ensure a bright future for them . Modi knows that they are the mood changer and influence the 70 per cent of Indians who do not possess a viable and strong purchasing power and most of them are below poverty line. Addressing the nation on the 77th Independence Day, on 15 th August 2023, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Modi said the country is moving forward with the dream of a developed India by 2047. Of course, this message of optimism is for boosting the sagging moral and spirit of the rank and file, but the other side of the message could not also be ignored.

It would be naïve to construe that Modi intended to send the message across the country that he would continue to rule India till 2047. For all practical purposes he could have said that he would push India to the zenith of prosperity if he comes backs to power after 2024 elections. Obviously, his words convey some portentous message and to discover the future role of RSS one need to decode the real meaning of what he said on August 15.

His message that India would become the world power by 2047 obviously meant that RSS through BJP would rule India. RSS through its manoeuvrings has been trying to fool the secular, liberal and democrat people by projecting Modi as separate identity and putting the blame of wrong doing on him. There is no denying the fact that the real offender has been RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. Modi has been virtually behaving like a Robot controlled by him. This I am saying certainly not to exonerate Modi of all his misdeeds and anti-people policies and programmes. This has been the strategy of the RSS to protect itself and Bhagwat from getting their images maligned and smeared.

Bhagawt is not known for speaking truth. He detected common DNA in Hindus and Muslims; he promised to boost the trust level in the Muslims, ensure that lynching comes to an end and the Dalits enjoy respect in the society. But none of his promise could fructify. He was not seen to goad Modi to bring about change in his style of functioning and win over the trust of the Muslims. While Amit Shah the number two in the hierarchy continues to terrorise the Muslims, the RSS affiliates did not abandon the mechanism to perpetrate torture on them. The most glaring example has been the brutal killings and rape of the Kuki women.

Perilously while Manipur was burning, Kukis houses were being burnt to ashes, they were forced to flee abandoning their homes and women were being brazenly violated and raped by the Hindu mercenaries, Bhagwat and Modi preferred to remain passive spectators. Bhagwat came out with a statement only once, but that was not more than a lip service. Even we take the RSS’s clarification as true that it is a cultural organisation, it is beyond comprehension how could the chief of an all India organisation keep himself away from the gruesome incidents that shook the conscience of the nation and refuse to visit the people and offer solace to them.

What has been most shocking is Bhagwat even did not ask his protégé to speak on the issue, condemn the carnage and meet the people. It is no that unlike his predecessors, Bhagwat does not speak. The fact is he speaks. But only to the extent which would serve his and RSS’s interest. He speaks more often, but measures his words more carefully, particularly when it relates to Dalits or Muslims. Being the political outfit of RSS, Bhagwat has every right to question unethical actions and decisions of Modi government.

Modi has to face enormous humiliation and insult in his pursuit to defend Adani. Rahul Gandhi in his speech in the Lok Sabha lambasted Modi for protecting Adani. The group captain has been finding it hard to protect himself. Even the SEBI report submitted to the Supreme Court accepted that huge financial irregularities have taken place in Adani group, though it did not mention specifically from the fund came.

Only yesterday the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) alleged that Mauritius-based ’opaque’ funds invested millions of dollars in Adani stock. The fresh allegations came months after a US short seller wiped away close to $150 bn in value of Adani group stocks with allegations of accounting fraud, stock price manipulation and improper use of tax havens by the ports-to-energy conglomerate run by Gautam Adani.

Rahul Gandhi on Thursday flagged the appointment of Upendra Kumar Sinha who was chairman of SEBI, between February 2011 and February 2017, the market regulator that looked into allegations against the Adanis in 2014, to the board of a media company, NDTV, owned by Adani. He said; “There was an investigation. Evidence was given to Sebi, and Sebi gave a clean chit to Adani. So, it is very clear, there is something very wrong here”.

Modi government has depraved all the financial norms for making available funds to Adani from the public banks and LIC. Modi government has handed over the rights of ports (sea and air) and coal mines to Adani. Surprisingly while Modi is facing worst flakes, the RSS and Bhagwat have been silent. They never sought a clarification from him. By resorting to this it is not clear what message Bhagwat intends to send to the countrymen. Ironically people have come to nurse the feeling that Adani has been indispensable for RSS which is why Bhagwat is not interfering in the matter. His planning to keep silence has failed to convince the people that Modi government is independent and RSS has no control on it.

Indeed, quite intriguing why Bhagwat has preferred to be silent on the Adani which had virtually smeared the face of the BJP, the political wing of the RSS. The issue has rocked the Parliament on many occasions. The opposition parties have been persistently demanding a probe by Joint Parliamentary Committee. On many occasions the opposition has demanded a statement from Modi. But he did not open his mouth. Even at the Mumbai meet of the I N D I A Rahul Gandhi sought a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into reports that Adani family associates secretly invested "hundreds of millions" in the company through opaque investment funds based in Mauritius.

While Modi has been maintaining a studied silence, the stillness of Bhagwat is really fascinating. Does Bhagwat intend to disown the BJP as its frontal political outfit? So far the people and opposition leaders were seeking to know from Modi about his relation with Adani. Bhagwat’s unreceptive silence is turning the people restive to know why the RSS chief was not coming forward and seek a clarification from Modi for the sake of protecting the prestige and image of the BJP which once the RSS claimed the parry with a difference.

RSS cannot shirk off its obligation and responsibility. There is no denying that RSS is the part of the establishment. True speaking it is the core of the Modi government. It is not a government like that of Atal Behari Vajpayee. The hostility between Atal and RSS was an open secret. But Atal’s assertion of self identity and authority was not liked by the RSS chief of his time. He was singled out and RSS treated him like an enemy.

Against the general consensus, BJP under Atal Behari Vajpayee lost 2004 General Elections to Congress-led UPA. In fact, the 13th Lok Sabha had been dissolved before the full-term as the BJP was confident that riding on its sloganof shinning India and enumerating the achievements of Atal government it would come back to power again. However, the party witnessed a crushing defeat and Vajpayee refused to be the leader of opposition taking the responsibility of the defeat. In 2005, he declared his retirement from politics.

The real reason for his defeat was the RSS not its best for the BJP candidates who were handpicked by Atal or were close to him. At that time it was also rumoured that RSS had covertly supported Congress. A success for Atal would have caused immense damage to RSS. The tug of war between Atal and RSS was a much talked about issue in the political circle. In case Atal had won the election it would have meant eclipsing of the authority of the RSS. Though L K Advani was the closest confidant of Atal, the party sources maintained he too had extended his support to the RSS.

While Atal had running feud with RSS, in sharp contrast Modi always preferred to have nice relation with RSS. He has been full of praise for RSS and especially for Bhagwat. This is yet another reason that Bhagwat has given him complete to operate in his circle. This unfortunately gives rise to rumours that RSS has turned weak and Modi has emerged as the domineering figure.

For Modi, in sharp contrast, the situation is better. He knows that it would unwise on his part to throw a challenge to RSS or Bhagwat. Moreover ever since he came to power he has been accomplishing the mission of RSS. There is a distinct difference between the style of functioning of Atal and Modi. While Atal ensured that his authority and self respect are not eroded, Modi has been maintaining the façade of self respect but working hard to protect and preserve the interest and vision of RSS. Atal was in real sense described as visionary and the best prime minister, Modi is not a visionary and has failed to make an impact of even a “good” prime minister. This is the reason that keeps on attacking Nehru. He is the best prime minister in the eyes of his “Bhakts” (followers).

Modi has been working within the framework of guidelines issued by Bhagwat in the matter of media and Muslims. Bhagwat had said “we have to engage with the media and Modi has been giving it a shape. In the case of Muslims, he has been following the political line of Bhagwat.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is on records to having said that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a Sangh swayamsewak and pracharak (volunteer), the RSS does not directly or remotely control outfits like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which though are run by swayamsevaks. This statement of Bhagwat is the candid admission of the fact that Modi follows the directives. In this backdrop Bhagwat owes to the people of India that he should expose Modi’s wrong doings.

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