RSS infiltrates the BJP

...and Girish Karnad plays footsie

They did not even pretend to be an open secret, except in times when it suited the agenda. The RSS is slowly worming its way into the ruling BJP government, which was probably the plan even before it went to the polls.

The latest report about senior Rashtriya Swayam Sevak's key sewak, and its media face, Ram Madhav officially joining the BJP and ready for a big role is not about an individual promotion. This is the RSS actively becoming part of the ruling elite.

“However, the party will decide on Madhav’s role in the political organisation,” both the BJP and RSS sources said. Madhav, a prominent face in TV news debates, has often been sent by the RSS to defend itself and to put forth the organisation’s point of view on national affairs from time to time.

This masked division is not fooling anybody. The fact that an organisation is on television or other public platforms to discuss national affairs is evidence that the RSS has always been an important player in matters to do with the BJP. It either speaks for the party or bails it out when it is accused of extremist policies.

Take any important issue that the BJP promotes and the RSS opinion has played an important role to formulate it or give its go-ahead, including the choice of Prime Minister. Has there been a single occasion when the RSS was not in the loop about what its protégé was doing? Would it dare?

The report further states:

Sources said Madhav, who was till now a member of its national executive, has been sent to the BJP along with a few other ‘pracharaks’, including Shiv Prakash, to take care of organisational work.

The BJP's manifesto did not say that it would outsource organisational work. Does a member of the RSS automatically become a BJP member? Is working for the organisation different from working for the government? If yes, then will Madhav be permitted to speak on behalf of the RSS, which is not the BJP, as an 'objective' observer?

There is no difference, but for the sake of probity and protocol these queries need to be clarified. The BJP sold itself on the basis of development, and not for encouraging nepotism. And letting pracharaks make a backdoor entry amounts to just that.

What next? Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Sri Ram Sene all sending their members to look after BJP's "organisational" work, and trying to influence policy even more blatantly?

Narendra Modi has kept a relatively low profile these weeks after being sworn in. Is the entry of the RSS a signal that instead of being the outside control room, it will now help from the inside to prop up the PM as the 'moderate' by taking the body blows for despotic decisions?

Recall Modi's refrain that people should not be scared, he is everybody's PM? He has just managed to keep the bogeyman ready in the closet while he woos us with his 'new' avatar.


When Girish Karnad, like a few other intellectuals, spoke out against the PM-designate at the time, some liberals got excited. Such banal utterances by celebrated seculars reflects just how dependent people are on selective coteries.

Last week, he did an about-turn:

"Narendra Modi is our Prime Minister, and we should accept it. I had expressed reservations about the post-Godhra carnage in Gujarat when Modi was chief minister. But after that, there have been no incidents to bring him a bad name. He has provided good governance."

All of us have 'accepted' him as the PM. It is a post; the BJP won by a huge mandate and he was their candidate. It would also be churlish to react when some people express their admiration for Modi after criticising him if they have reason to. However, one notices that in many cases it is sheer opportunism.

The grounds for Karnad's change of mind are illogical. He had accused the PM not in 2002, but recently. So, did it not register that there were no such cases after that in all these years? Is he trying to say that a CM should be treated differently from a PM for the same 'incident'? And what exactly does he mean by "bring a bad name" — were the riots all about slandering the CM? What about those who were killed, who lost their homes and livelihood?

It is also getting tiresome to read about "good governance" in such a short time. Why are people like Girish Karnad not asked to explain what they mean by it that they have been forced to alter their opinion is such a drastic manner? It would certainly enlighten those of us who are not blinded by a gilded throne.

© Farzana Versey