RSS affiliates protest against Modi government’s reforms | india-news | Hindustan Times
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RSS affiliates protest against Modi government’s reforms

The Narendra Modi government secured support from rival political parties to back his reforms push, but it failed to win hearts of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliates.

india Updated: Aug 04, 2016 23:46 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Members of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch stage a protest in New Delhi.
Members of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch stage a protest in New Delhi.(PTI)

The Narendra Modi government secured support from rival political parties to back his reforms push, but it failed to win hearts of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliates.

The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), an RSS-affiliate, will launch a programme on August 9 to demand the roll back of the FDI reforms — marking the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Quit India Movement that started on the same day in 1942.

Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, the trade union arm of the RSS, has expressed apprehensions about the Goods and Services Tax bill, barely a day after it has been cleared by the Rajya Sabha. The government hailed the GST bill as a step towards ushering in a new era of economic reforms but the BMS quickly dubbed it as “anti consumer”.

“We are waiting to see how it will be implemented, but from what we have understood it is just an instrument to burden the common man with additional taxes,” said a BMS functionary.

The SJM, which counts among its supporters, small businesses, shops, factory workers, farmers and lakhs of workers from the unorganized sectors, is among the other RSS associates that are at loggerheads with the government over its economic policies.

“Our representatives and all those who associate with us will petition the government at every district level and at the Centre to demand a roll back of the FDI policy that we strongly oppose,” a senior functionary told HT. The SJM, does not offer membership, but is active in 450 districts across the country.

The movement, he said will be “peaceful” and there has been no call for a strike or closing down businesses.

An effort to placate the RSS affiliates such as the SJM, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and the Bharatiya Kisan Sang –who are unhappy with the government for failing to create jobs, cut taxes and protect the rights of the workers – was made last month when senior ministers of the Narendra Modi cabinet held prolonged discussion with the representatives and heard their demands.

The SJM and the BMS’s toughened stance however is a clear indication that the government has not been able to win over the organizations, which took on the government for its economic and liberalisation policies even during the NDA government earlier stint.

The Centre’s decision to allow FDI up to 100% in some sectors including defence, aviation, food processing, pharmaceuticals, animal husbandry, single brand retail, private security agencies and broadcasting has been described as “anti-welfare state measures” by these associates.

“In its manifesto the BJP had opposed it will not allow multi brand retail. Single brand retail in itself means nothing, so they are reneging on their word” another SJM functionary said.