By Harsh Vasani:
The disarray in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has pushed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to emerge out of the penumbra and pull the party out of chaos. It has also cemented the RSS as the gubernatorial leader of the divided BJP. While there are speculations on who will be the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate in the coming elections, here are reasons why the RSS won’t mind backing Narendra Modi:
– Coalition collusion: It is widely accepted that, in today’s age, one party cannot have an absolute majority in India’s Parliament. However, the RSS is well aware that in the race to woo allies and form a coalition, it has to let go of its ideology of Hindutva, something that is the nucleus of the organisation. History is witness that when the erstwhile NDA formed a government at the turn of the century, it had to desert the Hindutva philosophy and its ancillaries, be it Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, Article 370 or the Uniform civil code; much to the ire of the RSS. This may be one reason the RSS may ignore the warnings about the need of an ‘inclusive leader’ who can take allies along and back Narendra Modi anyway. While it is also important to note that Modi has, in the past few years, tried to navigate his way out of the hardliner image and embrace a different outlook. Will he side with the RSS’s directives post elections? This is a question which only time can answer.
– Advani Anathema: Exactly eight years ago, on a visit to Pakistan, L.K Advani found himself in a controversy when he called the late Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a ‘secular’ leader. This did not go down well with the RSS and eventually led to the resignation of L.K Advani, the then party president. It was after four days and intense parleys that he rescinded his resignation (only to resign again, six months later), but the strain in his relations with the RSS did not cease to exist. Political pundits have also reminded post the Goa executive meet, how Advani shifted his loyalties quite often with the RSS. In this scenario, it does not seem that the RSS will back Advani for the Prime Ministerial post.
– Modi Mania: It is hard to ignore the good work Modi has done in Gujarat for all the sections of the society. While certain parameters in Gujarat are abysmal (Gender ratio and malnourishment), it has proved to be a well administered state and Modi as a visionary leader. He is also the heart throb of the party cadres. The same cadres who toil hard and work at the grass roots level, mobilising support for the party. Though one has to note that the Rashtriya Swayamsevaks are the backbone of BJP’s Human Resources. Ignoring their demands and thrusting decisions on them is not advisable; it could lead to an inner revolt.
– Allies will come: Bees hover only around honey. If the BJP manages to perform well on its own, the allies will come. The JD(U) may have severed ties with BJP and the one city wonder, Shiv Sena may be making noise. But, there are parties namely the Telugu Desam Party, the AIADMK, who have hinted at the possibility of an alliance with the BJP. This will cushion the blow the JD(U) has dealt to the BJP and add fuel to Modi’s idea of an NDA.