The recent meetings between various ministers and RSS leaders have not only ensured that the Modi government has a good working relationship with the Sangh Parivar but also that public airing of differences that the Vajpayee regime often saw is avoided.
While the Modi government had not ceded any undue space -- be it the issue of GM crops, labour reforms or FDI -- the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, the BJP’s ideological parent, was not complaining as it had got a patient hearing from policy-makers, sources said.
“This is a marked departure from the previous NDA government. We used to scream after the government would take decisions and get a couple of them rolled back. Now, we are being consulted regularly,” a senior RSS leader, part of one such meeting, told HT.
In the last couple of days, senior RSS and BJP leaders have meet at least seven ministers. At one such meeting, environment minister Prakash Javadekar was patient but firm about the government’s stance when confronted on the issue of GM crops, sources said. As reported by HT on October 26, the government has allowed field trials for a GM mustard variety and one of Bt Brinjal.
The RSS was keen to give Modi a free hand in policy matters and had signalled affiliates not to embarrass the government through public statements, sources said. The arrangement of “consultations” -- as the meetings are referred to -- is a move towards avoiding public confrontation.
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, a former RSS pracharak, said, “Such consultations will be held with other ministries as well”.
At a meeting of senior functionaries in Lucknow in October, RSS leaders agreed to lend a helping hand to Modi whom they consider capable of running a “nationalist government” for “a long time”.
“One of the reasons is that both the Prime Minister and the BJP president have deep RSS roots. They understand its concern better and also know how to sort them out,” a BJP leader told HT on condition of anonymity.
It has been clearly conveyed that it would be the government alone that would take and implement decisions, another minister said. “When some decisions of the government were red-flagged by organisations like the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, the government took a strong position,” he said. “We are approaching every issue with an open mind. If they have a genuine point, we will accept it else we would try to convince them.”