RSS ideologue and former BJP general secretary KN Govindacharya has said that Narendra Modi government's lack of action against its ministers who have been accused of corruption and impropriety "speaks of the political dishonesty of the establishment".
In an interview to The Hindu, Govindacharya accused the Modi government of being "power-centric, not people-centric" administration "in which issues and values have been given a goodbye".
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which had raised the issue of corruption while campaigning for the 2014 general elections, has been under the opposition fire after reports emerged that foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje helped former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi obtain British travel and immigration documents.
It is also facing flak over Maharashtra minister and late BJP leader Gopinath Munde's daughter Pankaja Munde's alleged role in a Rs 206-crore food scam.
Swaraj, whose husband and daughter have worked as lawyers for Modi, said she had acted solely on humanitarian grounds so that Modi could travel to Portugal to be with his ailing wife. Raje initially denied signing an affidavit backing Modi's British immigration appeal but later admitted to some BJP leaders she had signed the document.
"When the home minister responds to a demand for resignations of ministers saying that would be fitting for the UPA but not the NDA, people draw their own conclusions," Govindacharya told the daily.
His comments pointed towards Rajnath Singh's statement that ministers in the NDA government do not need to resign since they have to repeat what those in the previous UPA government did.
"The people are driven by morality, not legalities… the message in faraway villages is that something wrong has been committed by those who spoke of zero tolerance for corruption. People understand the concept of a quid pro quo. The perception is that influential and powerful people oblige each other – and this message has also gone down to the party’s own MPs, MLAs and panchayat members," Govindacharya was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
With the monsoon session of Parliament scheduled to convene later in July, the BJP has had to deal with a belligerent opposition, led by the Congress, demanding the resignation of the ministers whose names have cropped up in various controversies.
"Narendra Modi is an intelligent, knowledgeable person and must have understood the extent of damage to his credibility. I hope political sense will prevail before Parliament resumes… Electoral defeats and successes are just a passing phase but goodwill and credibility among the people need to be safeguarded," the RSS leader said when asked how the government would deal with the Opposition.
Govindacharya said the Prime Minister should act to save the face of his government even though some within the BJP say that ministers are not being asked to resign as it would weaken the government and that it cannot afford to lose a government in Rajasthan.
"Narendra Modi is head and shoulders above everyone in his party… He should be intelligent enough to forsake one state government rather than allow a scratch on his credibility."
Govindacharya also talked about the dissenting voices within the BJP such as Kirti Azad and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha who have questioned other leaders and made accusations against them.
"There is a heavy dialogue and trust deficit within the party which acts against the spirit of teamwork. Lack of participation in decision-making is felt intensely by those who expect themselves to be involved, whether MPs, MLAs or National Executive members. Most of them feel they don’t get an opportunity for an audience with senior leaders, forget participation.”
He also said that the confidence of the RSS in the new regime has been eroded.
"Since the mandate is for five years, the RSS is holding its breath –- the organisation worked very hard for it, [helping to establish] for the first time since Independence, a non-Congress government with a majority at the Centre. The RSS has a lot at stake but its confidence in the new regime has been eroded after the latter's performance in its first year."