Mr Bhagwat has been unusually assertive in his capacity as the leader of the RSS and as the days go by, this will bring him into a collision course with the Modi government. As it is, there are fears that at least a section of the BJP is keen on changing the inclusive and secular character of India, making it more Hindu-oriented. This would be detrimental to Mr Modi’s efforts to project an image of India as a modern and progressive country unlike, say, our troublesome neighbour.
The problem is that the BJP needs the foot soldiers of the RSS to help it win elections. Its spectacular Lok Sabha victory would not have been possible without the RSS workers who fanned out across the country to push the BJP to power. This is an issue which will require all Mr Modi’s considerable political acumen as well as perhaps that of BJP president Amit Shah. With assembly elections and by-polls coming up ahead, the BJP cannot afford to antagonise the RSS. But the RSS has to understand that it cannot constrain the BJP with its unidimensional views on Indian society. Both cannot do without each other, the trick is to make this cohabitation as comfortable and productive as possible.