The RSS quite clearly does not know when to leave well alone. Its protégé, the BJP, is on a roll at the moment, with its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, edging ever closer to the throne in Delhi.
Instead of rejoicing at this, the RSS has decided that it must place 2,000 of its hardcore cadre in the BJP over the next two or three years in order to mould the party in the fashion that it wants. This, of course, means that it wants to promote its ideology of majoritarianism, something the BJP has been trying very hard to play down.
In fact, Mr Modi in his well-attended speeches never makes any mention of the RSS. He realises, as does the party, that to rule India, one has to project an inclusive image. So Mr Modi has been reaching out to all communities and religions to show that they have nothing to fear from the BJP and that it does not subscribe to the ideology of hard Hindutva, which the RSS does.
The RSS cadre have traditionally helped the BJP and indeed many top BJP leaders were RSS pracharaks at one time. But when it comes to ruling democratic and secular India, the RSS ideology has no place. Any move to push its people into the party with the aim of realising its greater goal can only deter people from voting for the BJP.
In effect, this is a self-goal. Mr Modi has actually been among the first BJP leaders to chart his own course and not play according to the script from Nagpur. The RSS must understand that its ideas of a Hindu India cannot work in this day and age.
Today’s young people, who make up the majority of voters, want to know what the BJP can do for them and they are least interested in the RSS’ outdated views. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat showed how much out of touch he was with today’s India when he praised Mao Zedong’s approach to testing the body’s readiness in extreme hot and cold conditions as a precursor to the revolution. We know what a monumental disaster that revolution was, so we can only assume that Mr Bhagwat has not quite understood the import of his views.
Staying out of the picture would be the best support that the RSS could give Mr Modi, along with mobilising its cadre to seek votes. The language spoken by the RSS and by Mr Modi is as different as chalk and cheese. The BJP’s fortunes are looking up at the moment. The last thing it needs is someone from within its own stable queering the pitch.