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For RSS, ideology key to success

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat has sent out a clear message to the Bharatiya Janata Party that its deviation from its basic ideology had landed it in the current crisis, writes Pankaj Vohra.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2009 23:37 IST

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has sent out a clear message to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that its deviation from its basic ideology had landed it in the current crisis and it is for its leadership to take measures to save the party from being in complete disarray.

Addressing his maiden press conference in the capital on Friday, Bhagwat emphasised that in its 85 years of existence, the RSS had continued to believe in Hindutva, which was commonly described as a humane way of looking at things.

The Sarsangchalak’s attempt to showcase the RSS was to drive home the point how the Sangh continued to be relevant despite attempts to show it in a poor light. The signal to the BJP thus was to return to its roots and re-discover its core ideology instead of getting embroiled in just power politics.

Bidyut Chakravarty of Delhi University’s political science department said, “These are diversionary tactics. The RSS commitment to purity of ideology has never been in doubt. By talking about it at this stage, the RSS chief was trying to put the lid over the crisis that has engulfed the BJP. There was a hidden agenda, something he did not wish to share.”

The Sarsangchalak cleared the impression created by the media’s interpretation of his interview to Times Now that the next line of BJP leaders should be between 55 and 60 years. He said that he was speaking in the context of the RSS and it was for the political party to set its age criterion.

Secondly, the perception that the next BJP leaders should be from among only the four prominent ones in their fifties was also sought to be dispelled when he reiterated that there was no dearth of good activists in the Sangh or the party.

The press conference was used by Bhagwat also to dispel many perceptions about the BJP that the Sangh is always interfering in its affairs. The RSS (under him) will not give unsolicited advice and if the BJP seeks its help in any matter, it will be there.

Prof. Neera Chandok of Delhi University’s political science department said that it “is the RSS way of re-establishing its authority over the BJP. The RSS has never accepted that it is running the BJP’s affairs and it is only a social-cultural organisation. But then the two are inseparable. The cadre of the BJP is from the RSS. The RSS chief was talking to them through the media’’.

The other impression created by the quotation attributed to former Sarsanghchalak KS Sudershan about Jinnah and Nehru some days ago was also sought to be rectified by him. He said that everyone knows what Jinnah did, notwithstanding the academics’ view on him.

The occasion was used by the RSS chief more to put across his point of view and he did disappoint the media, which was expecting him to deliver his judgement on the BJP. From his point of view, it was a public relations exercise for the RSS.

Ideology for him and not power is the key to the success of any organisation. This is the message for the BJP of the future.