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Mohan Bhagwat avoids Yogi Adityanath during Gorakhpur visit, bolsters BJP-RSS rift talks

Bhagwat had over the past week launched a veiled attack on the “arrogance” of the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah regime and advised RSS leaders and cadres to return to their 'original task of helping the people', suggesting a distancing with the BJP

Piyush Srivastava Lucknow Published 18.06.24, 06:12 AM
Mohan Bhagwat, Yogi Adityanath.

Mohan Bhagwat, Yogi Adityanath. File picture

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday ended his five-day visit to Gorakhpur, cold-shouldering chief minister Yogi Adityanath in his backyard and handing advice to Sangh cadres that underlined the growing discord between the BJP and its ideological fountainhead.

Bhagwat addressed about a half-dozen meetings of RSS cadres from Awadh, Kashi, Kanpur and Gorakhpur and, according to Sangh sources, broadly emphasised the following points:

  1. Ahead of its centenary next year, the RSS is appointing “shatabdi vistaraks” (centenary expansionists) across the country who will make the outfit’s presence felt in every village, meeting residents and organising shakhas.
  2. The divisions in society have widened in recent years, posing a danger to the nation. Correcting this is the Sangh’s duty. The RSS will organise community feasts across the country, inviting people from every caste. (Bhagwat didn’t mention religious communities.)
  3. Every Hindu must sincerely follow the values of the religion. The RSS will stick to the path of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Maharana Pratap to keep Hindus under its umbrella. (Both were warrior kings who fought the Mughals.)
  4. Hindus must not practise discrimination or untouchability. This is important to protect Hindu culture, establish India as Vishwa Guru and turn it into a Hindu Rashtra.

An RSS functionary who asked not to be identified explained how the import of Bhagwat’s strictures reflected the Sangh’s disillusionment with the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We are back where we were in 2014. The government was in a position to do anything it wanted for 10 years but involved itself in promoting an individual at the cost of the resources of the RSS while not honestly following its ideology,” he said.

“The RSS had united Hindus over many years but they again got scattered in the last 10 years because the politicians disappointed them.”

He added: “Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s governments had an excuse for being unable to push our agenda — they were coalition governments. Modi’s government kept working on peripheral issues amid its own politics of the canonisation of one person. And now there’s a coalition government again, and it will be unable to do anything except enjoy the fruits of power.”

So, the RSS leader said, the Sangh will now have to resume its work after a decade of political dependency.

Bhagwat had over the past week launched a veiled attack on the “arrogance” of the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah regime and advised RSS leaders and cadres to return to their “original task of helping the people”, suggesting a distancing with the BJP.

BJP snubbed

Bhagwat put up at the S.V.M. Public School in Maniram Chiutaha area of Gorakhpur, barely 12km from the Gorakhnath temple, headed by Adityanath. But he met no BJP leader, with all requests for such meetings turned down politely.

Multiple Sangh and BJP leaders confirmed to this newspaper that they had been told on Wednesday, the day Bhagwat arrived in Gorakhpur, that Adityanath would meet him on June 15. But no such meeting happened though Adityanath was in his temple on Saturday and Sunday.

Asking not to be quoted, a political observer in Gorakhpur suggested the supposed RSS-BJP rift could be a drama played out to try and “keep the real Opposition on the periphery”.

“Bhagwat cannot blame his workers or Modi. The Sangh allowed its workers to mingle with BJP politicians after Modi became Prime Minister,” he said.

“Bhagwat himself accepted Z-plus security from the government in 2015 and sent a message to his cadres that things had changed. They should remember that K.S. Sudarshan (RSS chief from 2000 to 2009) had refused any security from the Vajpayee government.”

He added: “Whatever the RSS is doing now may be a trick. It may be trying to build the façade of an opposition against the Modi government to keep the real Opposition on the periphery.”

He explained: “The Opposition was weak from 2014 to 2024, and so the Sangh didn’t need to do so. But now the Opposition is stronger after this year’s Lok Sabha elections.

“The Sudarshan-led RSS had similarly played the role of a (proxy) opposition during Vajpayee’s tenure, when the real Opposition was strong. The RSS would criticise the Vajpayee government for failing to build the Ram temple or abrogate Article 370. Perhaps the time has come for a repeat by the RSS because it cannot afford to discard the BJP in the long run.”

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