Through its three day conclave in Delhi — billed as a routine coordination meeting — the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has sought to clear ambiguity, if there was any, about its status of being the conscience keeper of the Narendra Modi government.
The meeting saw ministers taking turns to seek feedback from the Sangh parivar on critical subjects and also present their case before senior pracharaks of the RSS.
PM Modi’s assurance that he was a swayamsevak did go down well with the parivar. RSS’ first tryst with power at Centre was with Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s rise as the PM. Their relationship soon turned acrimonious and RSS affiliates started taking on his government in full public glare. Both Bhagwat and Modi want to avoid a repeat of the scene.
It is after a decade that the BJP returned to power in May last year. In between both the RSS and the BJP underwent a generational change. Mohan Bhagwat took over from KS Sudershan as RSS chief in March 2009. In the BJP, the baton was passed on from reluctant LK Advani to Narendra Modi in 2013.
The success Modi achieved in general election left everybody in the saffron family awestruck. There was an informal agreement within the Parivar that the Prime Minister should get a free run, at least for a year, before the RSS makes some sort of a performance review.
Bhagwat was unequivocal in reminding the government — in the presence of the PM — that suggestions by swayamsevaks need to be taken seriously.
Those heading RSS affiliates say they tried to make it clear that in case of a dispute, the Sangh — and not the BJP — would be the arbitrator.
Still, insiders say, the RSS does not want to be seen as a stumbling block for Modi government. Modi still has more than three and a half years in power, before he faces another poll to the top seat, and the BJP knows that the RSS would keep reminding it quite often that is always near.