As the exit polls of the four states, where the elections to the assemblies were held this month, send a distressing signal that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personality cult, that was painstakingly built over the last nine and half years by the RSS and its frontal organs, has failed to carry along the voters, the Sanghis being forced to rethink its old strategies and come up with an alternate approach.
Though the RSS has not hidden its displeasure with Modi, its chief Mohan Bhagwat nursing a soft corner for him, made the rest of the top leaders to reconcile and once again repose their trust in the two-time prime minister. The RSS leaders now subscribe to the view that Modi’s propensity to portray himself as only leader who can fetch votes and champion the political line of Hindutva, has proved disastrous for the BJP.
These leaders feel that Bhagwat, on his return from Thailand where he had been on the mission to spread the message of Hindutva and unite the Hindus across the world, must take a look at the development and ensure that the electoral prospects of BJP does not suffer anymore.
Ironically, while the RSS leaders feel that Hindutva has lost its appeal for the Indian electorate, Bhagwat told his Hindu audience at the third World Hindu Congress (WHC) to reach out to each other and connect with the world together. Furthermore, while Bhagwat pledged that India will show the path of happiness to the world which is stumbling from experiments with materialism, communism and capitalism, the Modi government and cadres of Bajrang Dal and other frontal organisations have been busy doing exactly the opposite, fanning hatred and resorting to violence, especially against minorities, tribal and Dalits.
Bhagwat’s preaching to the Hindus who were participating at the WHC questioned the very politics that the RSS and the Narendra Modi government have been practicing back home in India. While Bhagwat said Hindus have to play a key role in spreading the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – the entire world is one family, Modi and the RSS have been dividing the people of India on communal lines.
Bhagwat’s asserted that “anger, hatred, hateful speech, envy and ego prevent the coming together of individuals and break society or organization” and made a strong pitch to win people over with selfless service”, thereby exposing the hypocrisy that the RSS and Modi have been resorting to. Over the last nine years, Indians have witnessed firsthand how the RSS, BJP and Modi have indulged in the worst kind of politics of hatred, pursuing divisive politics and carrying out lynching of innocent Muslims and Dalits.
The RSS has no respect for anyone, especially those with their own independent alternate ideas and perceptions. RSS dislikes these people and its leaders can go to any extent to malign them, including historical distortion and revisionism. Yet at Bangkok, Bhagwat said: “We have respect for everyone. Our ancestors recognised this, but we have forgotten this knack and were broken into pieces and then conquered. We have to come together now”.
Indians as such have not forgotten the moral values and tradition for which their ancestors stood. It is the deplorable ideology of hatred and cultural nationalism propagated by the rightist and fascist forces which have been primarily responsible for their fall. At the meet, Bhagwat underlined: “Today’s world is now stumbling. For 2,000 years they have performed so many experiments to bring happiness, bliss and peace. They have tried materialism, communism and capitalism. They have tried various religions. They have assumed material prosperity. But there is no satisfaction”. But he did not put across the alternative that the RSS has to offer to the world.
There is no denying that RSS has been assiduously practicing materialism and capitalism under the garb of Hindutva. It has never made any attempt to place its alternate policy approach or blueprint before the people through the Modi government. On the contrary, it allowed Modi and his cronies to severely weaken the basic economic foundation of the country. A few corporate houses have come to own and control the economy. Will Bhagwat enunciate what kind of experiment this is?
Bhagwat said: “We have an edge over the world in the matter of selfless service. It is in our tradition and values. So, reach out and conquer nothing but hearts”. It is not clear which tradition and value which he was referring to, as according to him these are already broken.
Nonetheless his speech sends a clear message that in spite of RSS leaders expressing their displeasure towards Modi, Bhagwat is not going to replace him with an efficient and farsighted person. To give shape to the RSS philosophy and political line, Modi suits the role best. It is a myth that Modi is an astute and visionary politician. He has no ability to read and comprehend the ground level situations and developments. During the Himachal Pradesh election campaign, he had said that every vote for ‘kamal ka phool’ would ‘come directly to Modi’s account as a blessing’. In Madhya Pradesh and even in Rajasthan, he used the same phrase.
No prime minister has ever resorted to this nature of gimmick as Modi. He wants to be remembered by the people of the country once he bows out of power. In MP and Rajasthan, he called upon the voters to vote on his face. While this nature of electioneering while makes the party and its other leaders redundant in the eyes of the common people, it also points to the ideological bankruptcy of the party. The personality cult factor also inflicts severe damage on the party apparatus and creates problems for the new leader or the government.
It is really intriguing how RSS could ignore this bare fact for so long. It obviously implies that the RSS is least bothered of BJP government providing good governance or carrying out development work for the people. One thing is absolutely clear: Modi would not have pursued the politics of self-aggrandisement so aggressively, if the RSS after BJP winning the 2019 Lok Sabha election had kept a tight leash on his functioning instead of emboldening him.
The exit polls for the states indicate that RSS must refrain from experimenting with the Modi image further. No doubt in order to salvage his image, Modi will use it to the hilt in 2024 for sure. In the prevailing situation, the role of the RSS becomes more important as Modi is getting ready to assume a much bigger role, which may even dare to counter the status of RSS. 2024 will certainly see a massive resurrection of the politics of Hindutva.
The fresh thrust of the RSS as underlined by Bhagwat in Bangkok would be on religion. India remains united not because of politics, but due to the religious traits. Developing political scenario makes it clear that RSS is not merely the remote control, but it will exercise its direct control on the BJP,to help resurrect the party as well as give shape to its agenda of turning India into a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. (IPA Service)