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regular-article-logo Sunday, 23 June 2024

Family secret: Editorial on JP Nadda’s remark on BJP’s ties with RSS

Perhaps the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections would decide the future trajectory of this evolving relationship. A handsome mandate for Mr Modi could marginalise the RSS further

The Editorial Board Published 23.05.24, 06:05 AM
JP Nadda.

JP Nadda. File Photo.

Is it no longer one big happy sangh parivar? A remark by J.P. Nadda has led to such feverish speculation. In a recent interview, Mr Nadda, the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, stated that in the beginning, the BJP needed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh because of its small size but today, the party, given its exponential growth, is capable of running its own affairs. Terse ties between the BJP and the RSS are, of course, not new. For instance, it is well-known that there was considerable strain between the two entities during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s prime ministerial stint. But Mr Nadda’s comment assumes significance in the light of developments — new and old. In the course of the ongoing general elections, there have been persistent whispers that RSS pracharaks, unhappy with the BJP’s choice of some candidates, have been rather tepid in their canvassing. This explains, or so goes the argument, the low voter turnouts in some regions. The other — older — grouse in the RSS, it is argued, has to do with the decisive change in its equations with the BJP that coincided with the political ascendance of Narendra Modi. The massive electoral mandates in favour of Mr Modi, along with the BJP’s own organisational expansion, has reduced the RSS’s leverage on the party, organisationally as well as politically. In fact, there could even be a case to view Mr Nadda’s comment as an attempt to insulate — secure — Mr Modi’s political future at the helm from the RSS’s interventions.

Yet, there can be no doubting the fact that the proverbial jugalbandi between the RSS and the BJP benefits both organisations. For example, the BJP, its deepening electoral imprint notwithstanding, has always pocketed political dividends on account of the RSS’s vast ideological reach. On the other hand, the BJP cementing its hold on Delhi has not only facilitated a rise in membership and shakhas for the RSS but also enabled several of its functionaries to occupy plum posts in key institutions and policy think tanks. So a discord, if any, could be inimical to the interests of these prominent siblings of the sangh parivar. Perhaps the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections would decide the future trajectory of this evolving relationship. A handsome mandate for Mr Modi could marginalise the RSS further, while an electorally weakened BJP may lead the RSS to recover its slipping grip on the BJP.

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