Skip to main content

How Modi ministers meekly lined up to deliver report card before Sangh Parivar top brass, faced tough questions

Modi with RSS chief Bhagwat
By RK Misra*
Politicians and pundits enjoy floating pretentious bubbles when chasing power and pelf. Once in, the remaining time is spent either in denial, deceit or demagogy. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is no exception. A political pugilist akin to Mohammed Ali, Modi as chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014 had also incorporated the one time World Champion’s classic slogan ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’ into his style sheet.
His repertoire of verbal aggression was not confined to probing jabs and rulebook upper-cuts, but included lethal below-the-belt undercuts as he punched, hooked and even head-butted his opponents all through his tenure as head of the west India state until he delivered the knock-out punch in the 2014 general elections.
All along, the soft spoken, two-term UPA Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh was derisively referred to as a ‘puppet’, deaf and dumb (gunga-bechara) while Sonia Gandhi would be mocked as a ‘maharani’, the ‘unconstitutional authority’. Speech after speech over a decade and a quarter Modi, and on cue lesser minions, jeeringly lead a virtual diatribe, even referring to Sonia and Rahul as the cow-calf combination (gai-bachchda).
This was not mere verbal gymnastics. It was part of a conscious strategy to portray Singh as weak and Sonia as an ogre, same as any retaliation to pay back Modi in his own coin was painted as an assault on Gujarati pride.
In a continuing hangover of his earlier tenure, as recently as on May 27, 2015, he went on record to state that Sonia Gandhi was the ‘unconstitutional authority’ who exercised real power over the PMO during the UPA rule whereas power was now wielded only by constitutional means.
This was the very day that Prime Minister Modi hurriedly tweeted his picture with ‘puppet’ Singh and wrote ”Very happy to meet Dr Manmohan Singh ji and welcome him back to 7RCR. We had a great meeting”.
How times change. And leaders, too. Cut to New Delhi September 2, 2015 where ministers of the Modi government are lining up, student-like to make presentations of their worksheet before the RSS leadership. Their chief Mohan Bhagwat with 15 Sangh associates including Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangathan(BMS) and Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) is holding fort.
Among the venerable ministers queued up were Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar among others. According to reports, Swaraj’s presentation covered the failed NSA level talks with Pakistan and the boundary accord with Bangladesh, while finance minister Arun Jaitley briefed about the market crash, failure to get legislation like the goods and service tax bill(GST) passed.
While mention of two big-wig ministers has been made here, the fact was that numerous other ministers also meekly lined up to deliver their report card before the Sangh Parivar top brass and fielded questions including some tough ones. A ‘samanvay baithik’-co-ordination committee meeting-they called this exercise which lasted three days and was also attended by the Prime Minister on the last day (September 4,2015).
Union Home minister Rajnath Singh was at pains to point out that the meet was more akin to ’think tank talks’ and there was no appraisal of government by the RSS. Was it really so? The union home minister must think hardened newshounds who have been around for close to half a century to be nut cases to believe this innocuous explanation.
The fact is that the three-day meet was a serious stock-taking exercise where the inner mechanics of issues were discussed and many within the government had a lot of answering to do. Is it just plain coincidence that the One Rank one Pension (OROP) issue which had been long pending, was announced within 48 hours of the meeting.
The RSS has had very strong opinion on the subject and the lengthening stir of ex-servicemen was being watched with dismay by the RSS top brass which felt that it would rapidly corrode the credibility of the Modi government. Jaitley was told so in no uncertain terms and the announcement followed thereafter. Ditto the decision to allow the Land Acquisition Ordinance to lapse, this time due to considerations of the Bihar Assembly elections looming on the horizon.
If Pravin Togadia’s VHP has a take on the Ram mandir, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch holds the Genetically Modified Seeds (GMS) issue very close to its heart. There was a lot of anguish spillover and complaints against ministers with Modi’s developmental agenda hitting a ‘swadeshi’ wall.
While the meet also marked the complete marginalization of the Margadarshak Mandal, with LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi conspicuous by their absence, it also demonstrated in full public view that for all the concentration of power in the hands of Modi, the Sangh Parivar calls the shots. Modi accepted as much when he stated after the meeting that he would continue to seek guidance from the Sangh.
Where does Modi stand now on his criticism of the Congress led UPA government’s extra-constitutional authority? RSS fits the bill of ‘extra-constitutional authority’ much better. Sonia Gandhi was the President of the Congress party which was leading the UPA government besides being an MP herself. What is the constitutional validity of the RSS that ministers of a duly elected government violate the oath of office and secrecy which they had sworn to uphold, to discuss the intricacies of governance with it?
One can understand Amit Shah as the President of the BJP having exposure to broad policy setting of his party government, but under no circumstances, by any yardstick, can this be justified, not even after taking cognizance of the fact that the RSS is the mother organization of the BJP.
Mothers are best providing homebound sustenance to their children, not directing their office organization. And Modi, as stated, has every right to be proud of his nurturing Alma Mater but the country’s constitution hardly empowers it to administer the nation. And in this backdrop his criticism of the Congress led UPA government merely peters down to a soot-covered pot calling the kettle black!
---
*Senior Gandhinagar-based journalist. RK Misra's blogs can be accessed at http://wordsmithsandnewsplumbers.blogspot.in/

Comments

TRENDING

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Russia, China to call the shots in Middle East, as Muslim nations turn into house of cards

By Haider Abbas* Only a naive would buy that the ‘situation of ceasefire’ between the State of Israel and Hamas would continue, as if the foiled attempt to demolish Al Aqsa this time, is not be repeated, if not in any near future then in sometime to come. Israel already has spurned the ‘ceasefire’ by storming Al Aqsa after the Friday prayers on May 21.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Modi-led regime 'contributed' 60% to rise of global poverty, yet Hindutva is intact

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* In recent years, the Hindutva politics has caused long term damage to India and Indians. The so called 56-inch macho PM, the propaganda master manufactures and survives all political crisis including the current mismanagement of the Coronavirus pandemic in India. In spite of deaths and destitutions, the social, cultural, economic and religious base of Hindutva is intact.

Rooted in mistrust? Covid-19’s march into rural India is a very different ball game

By Sudhir Katiyar* As the Covid-19 virus penetrates rural India, the rural communities are responding very differently from their urban counterparts who rushed to the hospitals. The rural communities are avoiding the public health facilities and any mention of the disease. The note argues that this supposedly irrational response is based on a deep-seated mistrust of the state by the rural communities. It can not be resolved with routine Information, Education and Communication (IEC) measures suggested in the Government of India SOP for tackling Covid-19 in rural areas.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Why hasn't Govt of India responded to US critique of freedom of religion under Modi?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* About two weeks ago, on May 12, 2021, the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken released in Washington the ‘2020 International Religious Freedom Report.’ This official annual report of the US Government details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and territories and describes US actions to support religious freedom worldwide. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, this report highlights the fact that ‘religious freedom is both a core American value and a universal human right’.