The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sangh in spot on swadeshi silence

New Delhi, March 15: The RSS was today strapped for an explanation on why its recent Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha steered clear of the usual economic resolution, which is high on “swadeshi” and critical of liberalisation.

Asked at a press conference on the lack of emphasis on swadeshi, spokesman Ram Madhav said: “We had a resolution on agriculture which mentioned swadeshi.”

The resolution in question was swadeshi only to the extent of attacking genetically modified food and harping on indigenous research. But in no way did it clash with the BJP-led government’s policies.

Sangh sources conceded that articulating views on economics was “far trickier” than speaking on Ayodhya and cow-slaughter. “At the end of the day, the entire parivar, including the BJP, thinks alike on the last two issues whereas on economics our house is divided,” they said. “A resolution on economic policies would not only be difficult to phrase but tougher to pass because of the conflicting interests in our ranks.”

The sources also admitted the “utter confusion” on economic issues and explained that part of the dilemma stemmed from the original philosophy of Jan Sangh founder and ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhayaya. “His concept of integral humanism had a place for a mixed economy but did not advocate commanding heights of the public sector. Upadhayaya was for a control-free regime. Fundamentally, therefore, the RSS cannot oppose disinvestment.”

The problem, they said, arose from the rapid growth of the Sangh’s trade union wing, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, which has left Intuc and Citu behind in terms of membership. “The issue of disinvestment would affect any trade union and, as the largest, the BMS’ survival is dependent on it,” they said.

The Swadeshi Jagran Manch, another affiliate, in turn drew its strength and sustenance from the BMS cadre and was “forced” to take the same stand on government policies as its mentor, the sources added.

The contradiction was apparent when the sale of HPCL and BPCL was in dispute. When it was rumoured that one of them would have foreign-owned equity and the other would be opened to public shares, Sangh sources said a senior swadeshi proponent welcomed it on record. “This caused confusion and some scepticism about whether larger business interests worked quietly behind the scene,” they said.

Other differences surfaced when the SJM opposed the urea and fertiliser price rise in the budget. “The SJM had passed umpteen resolutions against use of inorganic urea, so it had no business opposing the hike,” said a BJP functionary.

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