Why Goa RSS ex-boss Subhash Velingkar's potshots at Manohar Parrikar can harm BJP

Sangh Parivar's ideological fountainhead Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh very late on Wednesday took to Twitter to issue a clarification on the Subhash Velingkar issue which was fast turning out as a public bickering between the BJP and RSS in Goa.

Ousted RSS Goa chief Subhash Velingkar addressing a press conference in Panaji on Thursday. PTI

Ousted RSS Goa chief Subhash Velingkar addressing a press conference in Panaji on Thursday. PTI

The RSS tweeted that state unit chief Subhash Velingkar has only been relieved from the organisational post and not from any other responsibilities that he might be holding as a Swayamsewak of the Hindutava outfit.

Along with the tweet, there is also a statement by Manmohan Vaidya, Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh of the RSS, which was posted for additional clarity. However, while his statement may give some clarity to those within the RSS but to an ordinary citizen it only confuses more.


"RSS has supported and will support the cause (primary education in mother tongue) of agitation by BBMS, which is in consonance with the aforesaid opinion of the RSS...Goa Vibhag Sanchalak Subash Velingkar has been relieved of his post following his declaration floating a party. Any Swayamsewak cannot hold any post simultaneously in RSS. Nevertheless he remains a Swayamsweak of RSS." The statement adds that the RSS will have no role in the political endeavours of BBSM.

The statement essentially means that Velingkar will remain part of the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM). It could also mean that he is thus free to ridicule and challenge the BJP government in Goa as an active RSS and BBSM convener. Will that be supported by the RSS, if it is supporting the ongoing agitation by BBSM? There is no word about what RSS thinks of his idea to float a new party to fight with the aim to dislodge the BJP from power.

There are reports that hundreds of the RSS activists at various levels have been agitating, demanding their sacked chief's reinstatement, else they would quit the "cultural" organisation (RSS) they currently belong to and take a plunge into politics with the hope to become rulers of the state.

There is clearly a war going on within the Sangh Parivar in Goa, replicating a kind of situation that was seen in Gujarat ahead of the 2012 assembly elections. As Goa RSS chief Velingkar has foul mouthed the state BJP leadership, calling Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, Union Minister of Defence Manohar Parrikar, albeit without naming them as "bluff-masters...professional bluffers..It was our mistake to trust him, we got bluffed."

According to a report in Zee News, his men held protest and waived black flags at Amit Shah, an unheard of a situation in a supposedly disciplined cadre based organisation.

Consequent to this behaviour, the BJP raised strong objections and sought the removal of Velingkar. Although the Goa unit RSS chief has been removed from his organisational post, the organisation has still retained him at a considerably honourable level. The action by the RSS has ended up in sending mixed signals creating more confusion.

Politically, the scenic coastal state of Goa is very important to the BJP. After all, the party had distinction of winning a clear majority (winning 21 out of 28 seats it contested) on its own in 40-member state Assembly in 2012. This happened in a state whose one-third population is minority Christian. The BJP for long boasted this achievement to claim that it could not be perceived as a anti-minority party. Parrikar still has that big feather in his hat although he has now moved to the Central government.

When Modi was anointed to be the lead 2014 parliamentary poll campaigner, the BJP chose Goa to be the place. Earlier, it was here that he had survived the onslaught of his rivals within the BJP and those in the NDA. When Modi had to look for talent outside the existing bench strength to appoint someone as Defence Minister with impeccable integrity he turned to Goa to pick up Parrikar. Modi, Parrikar, Shah and rest of the BJP can ill afford to lose Goa.

The BJP could not have got that kind of numbers in the state Assembly without riding on support of the Christian population. It was thus only natural that Parrikar and his successor Parsekar adopted a liberal policy towards the church and English medium primary schools run by them. The statecraft couldn't be guided by Hinduvata only philosophy. The former state RSS chief Velingkar and affiliate BBSM wanted the state to stop grants to them, give it only to those institutions which had Konkani/Marathi as medium of instruction.

More so, it also had to do with the question who controls the real string of power. Some in the RSS still believe that the BJP and its leaders exist or are in position of prominence because of them. In the umbilical cord relationship, RSS is mother and BJP is child, even at individual relationship the perception remains the same. The BJP leaders, a good number of them think that even as they respect the RSS and hold meaningful interactions, they can't forever remain beholden to whims of the parent organisation.

That was the reason why Modi-Shah have asked an astute former party president and Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari to be party's central election in-charge of Goa. Gadkari has the stature and right proximity with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to deal with any emerging situation there.

The RSS's previous experiments, overt or covert, by a section of it or by the outfit to make its presence felt by floating a regional party in a state has so far failed badly. Take for instance, the RSS floating a political outfit Jammu State Morcha in 2002 with the purpose of contesting elections to seek trifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh against the wishes of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and rest of the BJP.

In 2012, RSS stalwarts in Gujarat openly supported Keshubhai Patel's outfit Gujarat Parivatran Party with the stated objective to overthrow Narendra Modi's regime. The result and subsequent turn of events are known to everyone.

Updated Date: Sep 01, 2016 20:05 PM

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