RSS ENDORSES BJP STAND ON CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES

There are conflicting reports in the media on whether the RSS is happy or unhappy with the performance of the BJP and its various controversial initiatives. The Times of India reports that the RSS has endorsed the Modi government’s move to form a coalition with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir. This would give more elbow room for the Prime Minister to take further the coalition experiment in the state.

The RSS leadership has also acquiesced in the land acquisition bill, disregarding reservations expressed by saffron affiliate Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (farmers’ association). “I don’t think that the bill is bad after government made some amendments,” Hosbole said.

Spelling out RSS’s stand on J&K, its joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosbole said that while the parent Hindutva outfit was unhappy with actions and utterances of J&K CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, it wanted the high-cost move to work. “The country is angry. We don’t think what’s happening in J&K is right, but we should not conclude that the government has failed. This is a novel experiment. In J&K, no nationalist party had ever reached this point. These are teething problems. We should allow time and opportunity for this experiment to succeed,” Hosbole told reporters after deliberations on the inaugural session of three-day conclave of the Sangh’s top decision-making body, the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (All India member’s assembly). “It is good if the alliance succeeds. It is necessary for a nationalist party to try and set things right in a state like J&K while being in power. A message should go out, in the country and abroad, to our neigbours that such an effort is being made,” he added.

Hosbole asserted that while the BJP may have set aside the differences with PDP over Article 370, Sangh Parivar will not dilute its stand for revocation of the constitutional provision which guarantees special status to J&K. “The RSS stand on Article 370 hasn’t changed. We’ll never compromise on it. We want the situation to improve. If the situation doesn’t improve, then we will decide,” he said.

The remarks are a clear indication that the Modi-Shah duo’s “out-of-the-box” idea of having an alliance with PDP despite huge differences enjoys the support of RSS. It also suggests that while the controversial statements and decisions of Sayeed may have put the alliance under strain, they have not shut the space for efforts to try running the coalition.

As a matter of fact, Hosbole made it clear that the Sangh leadership was appreciative of Modi government’s performance in the first 10 months: a testimonial which can help spare the government of the sniping from saffron hardliners who made life tough for the previous BJP PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. “It is a good and welcome change. There is no reason for not being satisfied. For being fully satisfied, we need to give the government five years. Everything cannot be done in nine months, but the direction taken by the government is good,” Hosbole said.

On ‘ghar wapsi’ (homecoming), Hosbole said it was not an RSS issue and VHP was free to do it.
Analysts say Modi and Shah will find the remarks to be especially soothing in view of the stubborn insistence from some saffron quarters that the Sangh leadership was unhappy with them for acting unilaterally and for deviating from the script.

Around 1,400 select representatives of 35 front organizations, Sangh functionaries of 41 divisions across the country and the BJP are in closed-door deliberations. BJP president Amit Shah, organizing secretary Ramlal and general secretary Ram Madhav are attending the three-day event.

A conflicting version of the RSS / BJP interaction

Contrary to the above information of the Times of India, the Asian Age quoting sources reported earlier that the RSS leadership informed BJP president Amit Shah and general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal at Nagpur on 6 March that their feedback from the cadres was not very good news for the Sangh Parivar. The leaders recounted that they had been getting a sense during their interactions with Sangh loyalists in social and cultural functions that the BJP leadership had not taken them into confidence while planning and executing the strategy of the party.

Expressing some concern over what was described as deviation from the basic ideology and established practices of the Bharatiya Janata Party, senior functionaries of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) told Shah and Ram Lal to tone down the party’s stance on several issues, including the land acquisition bill in Parliament and the labour law initiatives being pursued by the Rajasthan government.

Informed sources said that the RSS functionaries also expressed their dismay over the formation of the government along with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir. The RSS is unhappy on the way things have turned out to be in Jammu and Kashmir and that Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has been embarrassing the Indian state almost every day. His first statement expressing gratitude to those across the border for making the atmosphere conducive for holding polls in the state was a cause of extreme worry. It indicated that the public opinion in Mufti’s view was controlled by people from Pakistan, and that this view of the J&K CM was completely unacceptable.

The Delhi debacle and the various reasons (particularly the middle class opting for the AAP) for it were discussed with the two BJP leaders and the RSS wanted to know how Kiran Bedi was selected as the Chief Ministerial face and why the local leadership of the party was not taken into confidence.

The Union Budget was also a subject of discussion and the BJP leaders were informed that the widespread perception that it was “pro-capitalist” was not in the overall interests of the organisation.

Sources said that the BJP president was apparently asked why he had not held a meeting of the party’s National Executive ever since he took over and was also asked why the Parliamentary Board had not met as much as it should. He was further quizzed about the electronic membership drive, which some see as against the Constitution of the party.

Sources said that some changes in the BJP’s organisational structure as well as in its government at the Centre could take place during the recess of the Budget session.

(Asia News Agency Editorial Board)