Who pushed Arunachal Pradesh into a constitutional crisis?
As usual, media punditry, a curious mix of facts and fiction, personal political bias and a selective reading of available material, offers no clear answer. At the most basic level though, if Chief Minister Nabam Tuki failed to keep his flock together and the rebels rushed into the waiting arms of the BJP, it has to be his fault. The only option for him after losing the numbers is to step down gracefully.
However, the matter does not appear as uncomplicated if you factor in several decisions made by Governor Jyoti Prakash Rajkhowa.
These raise critical questions: Why did he advance the Assembly session from 14 January to 16 December? Was he within his constitutional mandate while summoning the Assembly without the aid and advice of the chief minister and his council of ministers? How can he have a say on the constitution of the House? These will, of course, be examined by the court. However, the real big question is: Is he indulging in political games at the behest of the RSS-BJP as has been alleged by the Congress? If that indeed is the case, then the role of the RSS in political matters of the country needs deeper scrutiny.
The Sangh would love to identify itself as a nationalist socio-cultural organisation, however, recent developments suggest it has hugely expanded its role in politics. If there’s a joke going around in political circles that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is only the foreign minister of the country and that domestic matters are controlled by the RSS, it is not without basis. Almost all the governors appointed by the Modi government so far, are linked to the Sangh or believers in its ideology.
This is equally true of chief ministers such as Haryana's Manohar Lal Khattar. It is no secret that the RSS is fighting a political battle against the Congress and the Left through several of its arms.
The Parivar will, of course, deny all this. But look at some recent statements, on social media and otherwise, of some governors and you'll quickly get the connection.
Tripura’s governor Tathagat Roy, who has not been exactly shy of flaunting his hyper-Hindutva credentials and ‘Swayamsevak’ background, courted controversy when he tweeted that people present at Yakub Memon’s funeral were ‘potential terrorists’:
Governors ought to be concerned abt security of state. Intelligence keeping tab on Yakub's mourners is preventing terror. Better than cure
— Tathagata Roy (@tathagata2) July 31, 2015
Later, he tweeted:
@aruns_nambiar Whatever gave you the notion that I am secular? I am Hindu! My state,India,however is secular-since 1976
— Tathagata Roy (@tathagata2) September 7, 2015
He said he was misinterpreted.
Assam Governor PB Acharya courted controversy when he allegedly remarked ‘Hindustan is for Hindus’. He claimed he was misquoted, but got embroiled in another controversy when he said Indian Muslims were free to go anywhere. “They can stay here (in India). If they want to go to Bangladesh or Pakistan, they are free to go...” It is possible they were quoted selectively, however, the fact that they raised topics close to the Parivar’s heart conveys a lot.
Similar is the case of Vajubhai R Vala, Karnataka governor, who recently advised students in Mysuru to give up lipstick and fancy clothes, as they were coming to colleges for studies and not for beauty contests. It was not taken kindly by activists and women groups, even though it was meant in good humour. Such statements reflect the mindset associated with the Sangh.
The point is that while the governors are appointed on the basis of affiliation to the Sangh and are making political-ideological statements openly, what stops the RSS from coming out and clearly saying yes, we are a political organisation with a well-defined political goal? That would simplify a lot of matters in Indian politics. For example, it would make clear whether the BJP and the RSS think alike on policy and other matters or they are just deliberately confusing people by talking in different voices? Or whether the Sangh and the BJP support the activities of all elements of the Hindutva fraternity? Both have been running with hare and hunting with the hounds for long.
The arrangement of convenience would end if the Sangh made its role in politics public.
It cannot go on claiming it a socio-cultural organisation when most of its activities are political in nature by implication. Perhaps it’s time someone asked it to end its double standards. It’s good for the RSS too, since it won’t be accused time and again for indulging in acts of political subterfuge and machinations, like in Arunachal Pradesh. It has denied any role but not many in the political circles are prepared to buy this denial.