Commander Bhagwat leads from the front
It is now out in the open. There are no secrets, no pretenses anymore. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh RSS) no more puts a charade of being a patriotic cultural organization out to preserve India’s great cultural (read Hindu) heritage, the alma mater of the BJP which sits at a distance and offers an advice or help only when the BJP leaders ask for.
For years, right from Guru Gowalkar days to Bhaurao Deoras to Rajju Bhaiya, they were all backseat drivers, with a proxy BJP president holding the steering of its political directions. K S Sudarshan tried to be a little proactive but in due course the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee tactfully silenced him.
The current Saranghchalak, the youngest so far in the Sangh’s history, for he became the chief in March, 2009 before he was 59, is far too young to sit in Nagpur’s Resham Bagh headquarters and give sermons. The young Sarsanghchalak is a very hands on chief and he demonstrated his prowess when he directly intervened today to quell the rebellion brewing among a group of Bihar BJP MLAs, impatient with the leadership of former Deputy chief minister of the state Sushil Kumar Modi.
The CNN-IBN described Bhagwat’s act as unprecedented and reported that he held a meeting with rival BJP factions in Patna to defuse the crisis in the state party unit. A day earlier the BJP had to suspend its MLA Amarnath Gami for publicly attacking the milder Modi as well as the central leadership of his party within hours of TV channels running his video clip on Sunday. News reports indicated that Gami is not alone and are possibly a dozen or more ready to cross over to the JD-U side. While state BJP president Mangal Pandey gave no numbers he did state that the JD-U was trying to lure his party MLAs with the promise of ministerial berths.
Significantly the banner of rebellion was raised while Bhagwat, along with the top Sangh leadership was holding his important organizational meetings in Patna. In fact earlier that day in Patna the chief made another bold statement that “Hindutva is the core of Hindustan, it is it’s identity,” he said adding that it is wrong to look at Hinduatva as an ideology of a particular religion or community. Remember the old slogan during Advani’s Rath Yatra to demolish Babri Masjid, ”Jo Hindu hit kee baat karega, wohi desh pe raaj karega. So in effect Bhagwat signaled in no uncertain terms that the BJP is now returning to its Hindutva agenda and who better than Hindu Hriday Samrat Narendra Modi can lead such an ideologically clear party?
Soon as Nitish Kumar sacked BJP ministers and pulled out of NDA, late last month, hurt by this act BJP had announced ‘Hoonkar’ rally at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan for July 29 to be addressed by Narendra Modi.
The timing of this rebellion therefore is very significant. It raised its head when Bhagwat was very much in Patna and his blue eyed boy Narendrabhai is all set to land in Patna, expecting a historical reception at Gandhi Maidan. Naturally then Bhagwat poor soul had no choice but to put aside all pretenses of being a distant onlooker.
But is Bhagwat really disinterested in the day to day affairs of the BJP. On the other hand the now not so young Sarsanghchalak has shown signs to the contrary from the day he was declared as the Sangh chief. His first foray was in the publicity department. Defying past traditions, the new RSS chief not only appeared on a couple of TV channels but went around the country holding press conferences. Already he must have broken the record of all the previous Sarsanghchalaks put together speaking to the media and holding press conferences. That first showed Mohanrao Madhukarrao Bhagwat enjoys seeing his mug all with his walrus moustache on the TV screen and newspaper, magazine covers.
His second act was to tell Advani soon after the 2009 debacle to retire and simultaneously convey to the media his disdain for D-4 (four Delhi based leaders, namely Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, M Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar) all considered then the camp followers of L K Advani. After that he appointed an artless businessman from Nagpur to lead the BJP, naturally hoping to do backseat driving. But poor Nitin Gadkari’s prowess lay only in looking after the day to day needs of the Sangh parivar through his Purti group. He proved no match for the Delhi Group. So as a final compromise Rajnath Singh was recalled. But poor Rajnath was never very effective even when he led the party for four years after 2005. He is proving no better this time. As for the others some in the BJP cant stand Suresh Soni others are suspicious of Bhaiyaji Joshi and still others spite M G Vaidya. Therefore it is now high time for the commander to lead from the front and lead he will, whatever the “pseudo secularists” may say. But I am sure the numerous BJP spokespersons will behave like the three monkeys of Gandhiji.