Key coordination meeting between RSS and BJP in September
A high-powered coordination committee meeting in which Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) brass will oversee a plan to streamline coordination between its frontal organisations and the Narendra Modi government will be held in Rajasthan’s Pushkar from September 7-9, according to people familiar with the development.
The “Samanvaya Baithak” of nearly 150 functionaries comes three months after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returned to power at the Centre with a record 303 MPs in the Lok Sabha. Though the Sangh, the BJP’s ideological parent, distances itself from electoral politics, its cadre campaigned for the party in over 400,000 villages for the April-May general elections, a Sangh functionary said, asking not to be named.
This massive outreach – in households and through public meetings -- was carried out by Sangh volunteers to ensure 100% voter turnout after BJP president Amit Shah underscored the need to double the party’s 2014 vote share of 31% to overcome a combined Opposition grouping.
“The election campaign was an example of coordination between the Sangh and the party, which has only improved over the years. Now, as the BJP government settles down to official business, there is a need to ensure coordination and understanding between the various affiliates of the Sangh and the government on policy issues, on how to express and address concerns,” said the functionary quoted above.
Several suggestions by RSS affiliates that work in the education sector -- including emphasis on use of the mother-tongue for teaching and setting up an apex body for education, Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog -- have been included in the draft education policy announced in June. But there are outstanding concerns on other policy issues that will be taken up in the meeting, the functionaries said.
“There are offshoots such as Vanvasi Kalyan Asharm, which works with tribal communities and has concerns about the proposed amendments to the Forest Reserve Act. Similarly there are concerns about the Medical Council of India bill that was passed recently. All such concerns will be raised in the meeting and efforts made to address these without any confrontation or resentment,” said a second senior functionary who did not wish to be named.
The functionaries said some sections within the organization were getting restive over the delay in construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and the abrogation of Article 35A and 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, but added they had been instructed to ensure the “conducive” atmosphere within the Sangh Parivar is not disturbed.
The Pushkar meeting is preceded by closed-door meetings between top Sangh functionaries and select government and BJP leaders, which are underway in the Capital this week.
Political analyst Hari Desai said Sangh affiliates would take care to ensure that they do not embarrass the government. “Even if they speak in contradictory voices, the affiliates will not create any hurdles for the government as long as it does not deviate from the Sangh’s agenda,” he said.