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RSS to keep Delhi pain out of big budget run-up

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has decided to put on the backburner its worries about the BJP's Delhi election disaster in the countdown to the annual budget.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2015 07:45 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh,Delhi election,BJP
RSS-chief-Mohan-Bhagwat-centre-watches-volunteers-march-during-a-three-day-workers-camp-on-the-outskirts-of-Ahmedabad-The-RSS-has-seen-its-influence-grow-after-the-BJP-came-to-power-AP-Photo

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has decided to put on the backburner its worries about the BJP's Delhi election disaster in the countdown to the annual budget.

The budget is expected to set the government's agenda for the next four years and the RSS wants to cooperate with Narendra Modi at this crucial juncture, sources said.

Several key bills got stuck in a prolonged Parliament logjam during the winter session over ghar wapsi, or homecoming, programmes by RSS affiliates.

The government wants to avoid a replay and roll out a budget that will win the people's confidence and overshadow the electoral debacle.

This will be the Modi government's first budget for which it got enough time to prepare and is crucial for the BJP and the RSS to consolidate its position - particularly among the middle and lower middle classes — before several electoral challenges lined up from next year.

The RSS remains mindful of the fact it was for the first time in its 90-year history it has a government that believes in Hindutva and don't want its members to start a blame game over the Delhi debacle.

A review would happen in due course, only when the dust settles on Delhi's war-turf, RSS sources said.

"We know why we lost Delhi but let's not forget that for the first time we have a Hinduwadi government. Could you otherwise think Bhagwatji (RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat) sitting beside the Vice-President of India (at a book launch function last October)?" a senior RSS functionary told HT.

The fact that the BJP and RSS have avoided a joint review of Delhi poll verdict becomes self-explanatory in this scheme of things. "Such discussions would only cause dissension," the functionary said.

Bhagwat's speech at his organisation's Kanpur conclave on Sunday - where he said Hindu society wouldn't unite through "speeches"- was viewed as a veiled dig at Modi.

RSS sources clarified that Bhagwat's remarks should be seen in the context of the larger Sangh view that has "no place for personality cults". They contextualised the remarks with a Bhagwat speech earlier in Meerut where he said the RSS started under the most difficult circumstances and there could not be a more favourable situation than now to unite Hindu society.

Calling them "fringe elements", the sources dismissed occasional controversial remarks by leaders of the Hindu groups and the BJP. "Larger issue is the groups like the VHP and others have also been allowed to do their work on the ground. They are happy with it," one of the sources said.

Organisations such as the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh and the Swadeshi Jagran Manch have been vocal about policy issues like labour reforms, the land acquisition ordinance and FDI.

But their reactions are being called symbolic within the RSS and they are said to be "all aboard".

The Modi government, too, has kept the Sangh Parivar on board on larger policy issues. Before the land acquisition ordinance, senior ministers held a meeting with several RSS functionaries to discuss their concerns.

Last Sunday, HRD minister Smriti Irani convened a meeting of Sangh-associated NGOs at her home to seek suggestions and discuss their role in the government's skill development initiatives. There have also been meetings between the labour minister and Sangh affiliates over proposed labour reforms.

Sources said the RSS would try to tighten its grip on the BJP amid growing murmurs within the Sangh to pack the party with experienced and senior leaders, sources said.

Bhagwat is said to be personally interested in rehabilitation of former pracharak Sanjay Joshi, who was divested of party assignments under pressure from Modi, a friend-turned-rival in Gujarat.

First Published: Feb 18, 2015 00:30 IST