BJP vs RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat: The disagreement needs to be seen in the 'right' perspective

It’s highly unusual, a rarest of rare phenomena when the Bharatiya Janata Party chief and other senior leaders contradict their ideological fountainhead, the RSS chief. His wishes are generally taken as commands by the party. But these are critical times, the BJP is wary of the electoral implications which its ideological fountainhead’s suggestions on socially controversial and politically beneficial subject could cause in Bihar elections.

A political uproar has made the RSS and the BJP search for the genesis of the problem. It became a complicated exercise because the controversy was an inadvertent offshoot of an interview by RSS chief to Parivar two of mouthpieces, Panchjanya and Organiser to glorify Deen Dayal Upadhaya’s `integral humanism’ as part of their foremost ideologue’s birth centenary celebrations.

An informed source said “Bhagwatji didn’t mean what is being attributed to him. It appears that it was not captured in right perspective by Panchjanya and Organiser. It’s not a very happy situation when your own publications can’t comprehend the situation and place it in right perspective.” The media, as the cliché goes, is to be blamed. Unfortunately for them, this time it’s not an outside media. It is not clear yet as to whether there could be an adverse implication for the editors concerned. “That’s unlikely. Kya Kya Karenge,” said another person well versed into Parivar affairs.

Panchjanya editor Hitesh Shankar said “I refuse to comment on an issue which has no basis. This was an interview between two of us. I have not been conveyed of any displeasure or has any denial been issued by those directly concerned, How can I comment on a third persons observations when the conversation during the interview was between two of us, me and the RSS chief.”

Incidentally, the question asked to Mohan Bhagwat by the interviewer was not on reservation. The question was: “You said integrity and honesty are the main parameters. Do you see any such policy initiative, undertaken or suggestive, which is in tune with Integral Humanism?”

 BJP vs RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat: The disagreement needs to be seen in the right perspective

File photo of Mohan Bhagwat. AFP

In response Bhagwat said: “the reservation for socially backward classes is the right example in this regard. If we would have implemented this policy as envisaged by the Constitution makers instead of doing politics over it, then present situation would not have arrived. Since inception it has been politicised. We believe, form a committee of people genuinely concerned for the interest of the whole nation and committed for social equality, including some representatives from the society, they should decide which categories require reservation and for how long. The non-political committee like autonomous commissions should be the implementation authority; political authorities should supervise them for honesty and integrity.”

There have been instances in the past when faced with an adverse situation, the axe has fallen on the Panchjanya Editor. During Kalyan Singh’s regime Panchjanya published a piece which practically termed Nripendra Mishra (present Principal Secretary Prime Minister Narendra Modi), then principal secretary of UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, a CIA agent. Mishra subsequently had to quit on another pretext but Kalyan Singh ensured that the then editor of Panchjanya Bhanu Pratap Shukla was removed from the post. Second, reasons were ascribed about Tarun Vijay’s exit from Panchjanya were widely speculated.

After the issue was vigorously picked up by Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar, and whole issue threatened to become an election issue which could potentially prove to be detrimental to BJP’s poll prospects, RSS publicity wing chief Manmohan Vaidya clarified that what Mohan Bhagwat actually meant to say.

The BJP is hoping after a strong rebuttal (clarification) by BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the controversy would die a natural death. But Lalu Yadav for who is consistently wanting to turn this election into a Mandal Part II, backward versus forward class, this comes as a god sent issue, which could potentially give an emotive turn to these elections. Nitish’s DNA campaign against PM Narendra Modi has failed to yield desired dividend and thus the secularist Mahagathbandhan leaders don’t want to let it go so easily.

Bhagwat’s remark to an extent punctures the BJP build-up among OBC, EBC, Dalits and Mahadalits, as also the political coalitions the BJP built with Ramvilas Paswan, Upendra Kushwaha and Jitan Ram Manjhi with an eye to expanding social (caste) base for the NDA. There is a general consensus that Bhagwat’s remarks were ill-timed and entirely avoidable, at least at this juncture – it comes when electoral heat in Bihar is gaining its peak and also it comes days after RSS-BJP (Modi government) had held first of its kind co-ordination meet in Delhi to “exchange notes”.

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Updated Date: Sep 24, 2015 13:13:30 IST