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Once Mohan Bhagwat had said Modi is the ideal PM... so what has happened now, questions Dr Chandra

Throwing light on the recent tussle between BJP and RSS, Dr Jagdeesh Chandra stresses that though RSS is a socio-cultural organisation, BJP is purely a political party and thus their outlook would be different since both organisations function in other fields serving the common goal of national development. Dr Chandra also says that though there may be a myriad of issues that have led to the current scenario, the relations between Modi-Bhagwat are age-old and not a recent phenomenon and thus have the strength to navigate such times... (Part I)

  • What is your take on the relationship between BJP and RSS going forward?
    Dr Jagdeesh Chandra:
    There is no doubt that the decades-old relations between BJP and RSS have reached a critical juncture, but one thing is certain RSS is not going to disrupt or disturb the Narendra Modi government because RSS has already said that Narendra Modi is an ideal Prime Minister. RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat had said in Ayodhya that Narendra Modi appears to be a ‘Sanyasi and Tapasvi.’ But they have a pain in their heart and want recognition. RSS feels for the past some time, that they have been sidelined and that they are not consulted on important matters. So they want such consultations to take place which used to happen ten years back and thus, it should be restored. Secondly, RSS also wants that organisation related work should be handed to it while Modi runs the government. On the other hand, the BJP’s thought on this issue, as can be inferred from JP Nadda’s recent interview, was that in the past, BJP needed RSS because it was a small party and was not as capable as RSS. But now BJP has grown from strength to strength and thus it can handle its ground. Apart from this, RSS is a cultural and social organisation while BJP is a political party. So in these two points, Nadda put forward the philosophy and ideas of the BJP leadership clearly. It hints that RSS should keep itself occupied in the social and cultural sphere while leaving the political and party-related works to BJP. So, the basic issue is serious and it remains to be seen how in the coming days the two leaderships sort the issue.
  • What do you think were the reasons that led to a sense of frustration or disappointment towards the BJP leadership in Mohan Bhagwat’s heart? Also, why do you think they chose a public platform to put forward their points?
    See, the main issue is recognition and relevance. RSS feels that in the past ten years, its recognition and relevance have decreased and that the ‘power centre’ has shifted from Nagpur to Ahmedabad. Secondly, how BJP is functioning and working in Modi’s leadership, somewhere RSS does not appear to be alright or comfortable with this. I won’t say that RSS is against BJP but it certainly does not look as if they are comfortable with it. It appears that in their mind, they feel that the ‘recognition centre’ is shifting from their side and that their recognition and value have gone down in the past ten years since consultation with RSS has gone down. The second main issue borders around the recently conducted Lok Sabha election where it appears that RSS feels it has not been consulted with and it is said that RSS had given a few names as candidates in the Awadh belt of Uttar Pradesh but these names were not accepted. So after this RSS’s mood changed and it is now believed that one of the reasons for BJP being restricted to such a low number is due to the reason that RSS workers did not take to the field. Its result was that the BJP faced a loss. But this also poses a question as to has your disappointment become so big that you caused a loss to your party. Have BJP-RSS relations reached such a critical point that the RSS workers did not work as they would have, which is being perceived? RSS workers not working actively in elections is a serious point on which the leadership should deliberate and think. When the issue of cabinet was being formed, I have heard that consultation with RSS was not held there too and I have also heard that Arun Kumar told BJP that if the party does not pay heed to RSS’ views, why then does it seek its opinion? The result of this was that no senior RSS leader was present in the oath ceremony. It is a thing of wonder that you are coming to power, BJP is coming to power for the third time, PM is returning to power for the third time, and yet RSS is missing from the action. This gives one the idea that RSS is disappointed, sad or angry. I spoke to a senior leader on this issue and asked him what was happening, and he said all is well. But nothing is alright rather this issue has to be sorted. There are elections in the future and it can not be that RSS does not play an active role. Fights can be addressed at appropriate times but at least win elections first. Furthermore, on the issue of Ram Mandir, I heard that there were some differences on that issue as well. RSS thought that it should not have been politicised and attempts to take political capital from it should not have been made. But here BJP differs from its opinion and everyone differs on this issue. See, Modi, Shah, or Nadda are not saints or sages, rather they will look to create public opinion from such issues. How else will they do it? Not just BJP, rather no other political party will leave such a chance. If you do not take political capital out of such major developments, what will you do in politics then? Then there was another issue that Nripendra Mishra was made in charge of the project which did not go down well with RSS as it maintained that someone from RSS should have been given that chance. Then another issue was regarding accounts that were being looked after by Champat Rai, and something happened with it that after this BJP stopped consulting with RSS on the Ram Mandir project, so it is said. I also heard that RSS thought that leadercentric politics should not happen. To this, BJP questioned that if leadercentric politics is not engaged in then who will lead the party? You need the face of the political party and everywhere in the world this happens. Narendra Modi is the face of the nation which the BJP has and that face gets votes. If you say politics should not be leader-centric then it can not happen. Basically what BJP feels now is that RSS’s suggestions are theoretical and ideological, which do not fit the political realm. See, this issue has to be dealt with at a logical level and both Mohan Bhagwat and JP Nadda would want that. If they can look eye to eye then it’s alright, if not, then they would be free to raise their organisation and when the issue of resources comes forth, they will then look into it. The issue should be decided but it should not come to pass that RSS workers do not go to cast their votes or motivate people to vote.
  • You talked about this situation, but how far do you think this clash of ideas will continue? Do you think it could come to that level that things go way beyond the difference of opinion situation it presently is at?
    There are two things in this. Differences of opinion may be there, but if you are going to imply about show of strength, then be assured, that a show of strength can not happen in Narendra Modi’s life as you can not defeat him or Amit Shah in any show of strength. Secondly, this situation of a show of strength will not arise because it is nonexistent in RSS’s DNA and the DNA of RSS and BJP is vice versa. But even if such a situation occurs, you tell mow out of the 240 individuals, how many people are there who will leave Modi-Shah and head to the organisation? How many Chief Ministers are there who will leave for organisation? I don’t think there is any. Such a situation will not happen, and even if it comes to pass, then it is impossible to defeat Narendra Modi in a show of strength.
  • Amidst the controversy regarding BJP-RSS relations, a book written by PM Modi - Jyotipunj - is being discussed a lot. What is there in that book?
    That book defines the relations between Narendra Modi and Mohan Bhagwat and Bhagwat’s relations with his family. In that book, Modi comes across as a writer, a philosopher, and an intellectual. He has written in the book that when he was 20 years old he observed that in Mohan Bhagwat’s father - Madhukar Rao Bhagwat - he used to find a mix of Gujarati and Marathi style of clothing. Modi said that after meeting him he used to feel that the senior Bhagwat has become a part of him like how milk and sugar mix with each other. Modi further said that in those times there was no one who used to even take RSS’ name and in such a time, Madhukar Rao spent his life for RSS and established RSS in the state. He entered from Surat & held a first ‘shivir’ there. From there he moved to Karnavati, Baroda, and other places. If you look at it, Mohan Bhagwat & Narendra Modi are ‘Guru Bhai’ because Madhukar Rao Bhagwat used to consider Modi as his ‘Mana Putra’ and was impressed by Modi. They even shared time in a ‘shivir’ in Nagpur. So look at the relationship between the two families. That book & that bond is at one end & the politics is at another. This book presents Narendra Modi’s philosophical thoughts.


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