By Santosh Bhartiya
It is often said that when a socialist turns dictator, he turns into a cruel dictator. Though some of them have been benevolent, but their numbers are few and far between. This opening may appear a bit outlandish. However, despite all the criticism of the Rashtriya Sewmsevak Sangh (RSS), we cannot criticize it for the morality embedded in its ideology. The organization has never been apologetic about or shied away from expressing the cultural aspects of its ideology. Whenever an opportunity arose they unambiguously put forth their idea of society, India and governance.
But, when the time comes to put those propositions to the test against the run-up of elections, it seems that the RSS for the first time has deviated from its ideology; the deviation is not only palpable at ideological level, but also visible at overall orientation of the Sangh. Now the organization has started competing with those political parties, which, in the past, it has been critical of. Previously, the Sangh has unequivocally extended its “limited” support to the Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP’s election prospect largely depends on its own strategy. In the past, to further its ideology the RSS on many occasions supported even those whom it does not like. The Sangh once praised and supported Indira Gandhi.
In the general elections, in which Narendra Modi was BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, the Sangh openly sided with the BJP. Its volunteers not only stood like rocks on polling booths, but they also did their best to garner support for Narendra Modi. During Bihar assembly elections Narendra Modi placed himself against Nitish Kumar as an alternative. He went on to say to the people of Bihar that if they vote for Nitish Kumar that would be vote for stagnation and destruction, whereas vote for Narendra Modi would be vote for development. The people chose Nitish Kumar and rejected Narendra Modi and BJP. The RSS changed its stance saying since they did not support the BJP, the BJP lost. Nonetheless, they never came out in public announcing taking out their support from BJP, but they spread the word across firmly. BJP’s victory in Assam was not a direct victory. Had Hemant Sarma not broken ranks with the Congress and had the BJP not outmanoeuvred Prafull Kumar Mahnta and took him on board, the BJP would not have come to power in Assam. BJP came to power in the state only because of the fantastic imprudence of the Congress.
Elections are being held in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Goa. The BJP is distributing tickets, and the result of which are visible everywhere: workers are unhappy, district units are facing rebellions and state units feeling cheated. In fact a large number those who are given tickets have never been associated with the BJP. It is hard for an ordinary worker of the BJP to digest the fact that people coming from other parties (outsiders) are given preference in ticket distribution. Consequently, the effigies of central ministers are being burnt in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, slogans against Amit Shah and Narendra Modi are being raised and the resentment has erupted everywhere.
Where is the RSS all these while? So far it was believed (and being seen this time around as well) that the district level organizations of the RSS scrutinize candidate according to the assembly constituencies. They present their report based on the merits or demerits of the prospective candidates to state level organization, and thereafter the state level organization in consultation with the BJP finalize candidates, and thus playing important role in finalizing candidates. This time around the RSS either has not taken up the task or cast itself into the same mould as the people of Congress or the Samajwadi Party have cast themselves.
Many people have now started saying that a large chunk of RSS functionaries, after tasting power, has started treading the same path and fell victim of the same degeneration that people in power invariably fell in. Senior RSS officials, including the head of states, indulged in the foreign trips. At the same time, the low level of officials are enjoying the bounty that automatically fell in their laps by virtue of being important member of a party in power and by virtue of being in proximity of businessmen and wealthy people. It is hard to believe but the truth is somewhere near it. Because in 2017 assembly elections, especially in Uttar Pradesh, it was announced that MLAs coming from other parties will surely get tickets. In other words the BJP does want to give tickets to its workers or volunteers. Priority is given to winnability; it does not matter whether the ticket seeker has ever been member of BJP or the Sangh or he has been strongmen, corrupt or criminal. This kind of ticket distribution by the BJP in Uttar Pradesh raised more question on RSS than on BJP.
Now I do not know whether the grip of national leadership of RSS on the BJP has loosened or the basis of their moral teaching has been degenerated, or the RSS itself want to use and letting the BJP use the same methods that other political parties applied. If so, then it would be like mingling of another river into the ocean of disappointment. The RSS struggle for its ideology should always be welcomed, but if that become a vehicle to capture power like the other political parties used, then that certainly is unwelcomed. Let us see how the strategy of fielding candidates like these pay for the BJP and the RSS and help the BJP in the elections. In Goa, the RSS splits up largely because the senior leader did not try to assuage their anger of the breakaway faction. Why this happen is unknown. But if the RSS begin to break up in other states as well, then it should be assumed some contradiction has seeped into its ideology.
By Santosh Bhartiya