The RSS-Subramanian Swamy relationship: Is it going downhill?

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his interview with Times Now said, "Vyavastha se upar kisi ko bolne ka haq nahi hai…" we all knew that the PM was referring to Subramanian Swamy and his obsession with the social media.

Swamy, who is known for his tirade of caustic I-don't-care tweets, has sent the BJP high command into a tizzy — The Indian Express reported that his tweets are dissolving the support of the bosses in the BJP and questions regarding his comments are being raised within the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). And that his 'fall from grace', as the report puts it, was reflected in the PM's remarks.

Subramanian Swamy. PTI

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. PTI

Subramanian Swamy's RSS ideology, wrote Outlook, can be traced to Swamy's mother Padmavati Subramanian, who had RSS leanings. Swamy's younger brother who spoke to Outlook said that despite the former's "pure integrity", his lack of tolerance level to different opinions make him a less-successful politician.

But all has not been rosy between the Harvard-educated-economist-turned-politician-turned-rabble-rouser and the Sangh. Even if he has pushed for the cause of the Ayodhya Ram temple or drawing a ‘lakshman rekha’ to free Indian literature from the Left ideology, he has also been a steady critic of the Hindutva ideology that he seems to propagate.

Writing for the magazine Frontline, Swamy compared the threat of "creeping fascism of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)" to British imperialism. Only, the former is swifter than the latter, he said. He further added that the RSS has already gained generating momentum on religious fundamentalist issues (such as the Ram temple) and raised fanatical emotional issues (such as chasing out Christian missionaries). He closed with,

The RSS is, luckily, our counter-culture. The vibrations of Mother India will, I hope, be its undoing.

After Swamy's recent "the gloves are off" swipes at Arun Jaitley — "People giving me unasked for advice of discipline and restraint don't realize that if I disregard discipline there would be a blood bath" — Narendra Modi proclaimed (in the interview) that "whether it is in my party or not, I think such things are inappropriate. This fondness for publicity is never going to do any good to the nation. People should conduct themselves with utmost responsibility. If anybody considers himself above the system, it is wrong."

If this isn't proof that the BJP is slowly distancing itself from Swamy, then the fact that the latter's Mumbai event (on 26 June), where he was supposed to speak on 41 years of imposition of Emergency by Indira Gandhi, was cancelled at the behest of BJP President Amit Shah, speaks volumes about the same.

The Indian Express also reported that the RSS is supposed to have sent two mediators to Subramanian Swamy to ask him not to make public his differences with other senior or otherwise BJP leaders and to exercise patience. What's more, the RSS also claimed that Swamy's activities could not be linked with them.

Does that mean Swamy is beyond even the prime minister's control? His track record, as pointed out by Sreemoy Talukdar in Firstpost, presents an existential dilemma for the BJP. On the one hand, Swamy dons the role of 'chief needler' with ease, baiting the Nehru-Gandhi family like it's his was second nature. On the other hand, Swamy's propensity for publicity — that apparently seeks him — has proved to be a loose cannon, getting him into trouble with his party leaders and the public alike.

Where does it go from here?

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Updated Date: Jul 01, 2016 15:57:11 IST

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