RSS General Secretary criticised Modi govt this year.
Ahmedabad: Gujarat Elections are less than a month away and all the best players of the saffron party, including BJP’s poster boy Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his confidante Amit Shah, are already on the field. While Gujarat, which has elected Modi consecutively for almost two decades as Chief Minister, is a clear shot for the BJP, its partnership with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has always been critical to BJP’s victories. Just like Uttar Pradesh and other northern states, a large chunk of BJP’s vote bank in Gujarat too can be credited to its Hindutva politics which is incomplete without its age-old association with the RSS. However, the RSS, which used to be an active campaigner for the saffron camp in Gujarat seems to have taken a back seat this time triggering doubts if the opposition’s claim of an ideological drift between BJP and the right-wing group is true.
The shift in RSS agenda
RSS was always seen as a staunch right-wing group committed to the cause of Hindutva and culture and some of its prime agendas have been instilling Hindu pride and construction of the Ram Mandir for the longest time. However, over the years, there has been an evident deviation in RSS’ agenda which now is inclined more towards rational issues like communal harmony, employment, women empowerment and more.
The RSS now wants to attach itself to nation-building by participating in key issues and asking questions from the government when the need be.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwant’s Dusshera speech this year was a testament to this fact. Bhagwat’s speech this year mentions equal rights for women, communal harmony, employment opportunities for youth and economic growth among other things.
RSS’ open criticism of the Modi govt
In October when Bhagwat made his most non-RSS speech, the outfit’s General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale openly criticised the Modi government and highlighted issues like poverty, inflation, and unemployment among others.
This was probably the first time RSS openly came down on the BJP, especially the Modi government and demanded accountability from its political partners. Hosabale’s interview sparked questions if there is really a drift between the long-associated partners.
It also revealed the anxiety and discontent within the Sangh-Bhajapa Parivar.
RSS unhappy with Gujarat government
The list of issues upsetting RSS has only piled up over the months. The Sangh expressed open discontent with the BJP-led Gujarat govt over its handling of rising harassment of members of Scheduled Castes during the joint meeting for the election planning this year.
The displeasure was also anticipated after Gujarat minister of state for home Harsh Sanghvi, who by pecking order was not supposed to be a part of the ‘samanvay baithak’, was asked to attend it this year.