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

Corporate-political party nexus? Rise and rise of Gautam Adani under Modi regime

By Sandeep Pandey*  In last five years Rs 10,09,510 crore taken as loans by various companies from banks in India have been declared as Non Performing Assets, an euphemism for writing them off. Out of this State Bank of India alone wrote off Rs 2,04,486 crore. Only about 13% of the total written off amount was recovered. Identity of the defaulting borrowers, most of whom are influential corporates, is not revealed. Compare this to the loans taken by farmers. The names of defaulting farmers is displayed on walls in tehsil offices to shame them and some unlucky ones also land up in lock-ups there. On the contrary, a few corporate defaulters have fled the country and quite curiously the authorities didn’t seize their passports like they do with some dissenting intellectuals or activists booked under mostly false cases. Now consider the donations received by political parties in the form of electoral bonds. The identity of the donor need not be revealed even to the Election Commission or i

'Extremist' US Hindu global group funding hate against Indian Churches: NGO groups

Counterview Desk  As many as 14 civil rights and faith-based organizations in co-signing a letter to the US Senators, Representatives, State Governor, and other elected officials have demanded the FBI, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Department of Justice should investigate into Texas-based organization Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) a fundraiser campaign for demolishing churches in India. Co-signed by Federation of Indian American Christian Organization in North America (FIACONA), North American Church of God, Southern Methodist University (SMU) Human Rights Program, Amnesty International - Dallas, World Without Genocide, Center for Pluralism, Genocide Watch, The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Limitless Church, Justice for All, Hindu for Human Rights, North Texas Peace Advocates, Good Citizens of DFW, and the North Texas Islamic Council, the letter has been sent to Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz; Representatives Michael C Burgess, Pat Fallon, Van Taylor, Terr

Carbon abatement to tackle climate change: India's failure has 'outpaced' its success

By Satorupa Karmakar*  On November 01, 2021, India took a pledge of reaching a carbon-zero stage by 2070, at the COP-26 held in Glasgow, UK. As ‘ambitious’ and dubious it may sound to some, with a short-term delay in renewable energy generation (which gained the pace post-September 2020) and drastic fall in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission level as COVID-19 emerged as a ‘necessary evil’ , the path of India’s clean energy mission could be seen being paved throughout this time. Currently ranked as the third largest GHG emitter in the world, India is projected to demand more energy in coming years due to a large population base (1.3 billion as per 2011 Census data) and primarily coal-based fast-growing economy. Rapid industrialisation in post-colonial developing countries like India, stimulated by a larger and cheaper pool of fossil fuels and labour-force depicted a continuous upsurge in temperature, heavy precipitation in some places with an overall declining rainfall and a burgeoning soc

BJP-RSS trap opposition in 'futile row' around Savarkar, freedom movement

By Prem Singh*  Everything in this article is just a repetition. I have been saying all this since 1991-92. It is obvious that the Congress and the RSS/BJP do not like my ideas. But most socialists, advocates of social justice and communists also dislike my thoughts. I watch their measures and efforts to deal with the present crisis with interest. I respect them and also participate. Yet, the fact it, we fall behind again and again, and the crisis goes ahead. Instead of being a solution-providers, we are seen to be a part of the crisis. How long will this last? Perhaps, if the new generation thinks differently, things may turn for better! 1 To say that modern Indian society and politics are passing through the deepest crisis ever will surely be a repetition. The crisis is deeper than the spreading of communal hatred we witness around us. In fact, the business of communal hatred is flourishing by taking its manure and water from the deep crisis. The crisis of neo-colonial slavery is pro

Demand to withdraw 'anti-environment, anti-adivasi' forest conservation rules 2022

By Gopinath Majhi*  The Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha, a coalition of adivasis and forest dwellers’ organisations, has sent a memorandum to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) raising serious concerns over Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022, notified by the Centre on June 29.  Contending that recent amendments and a host of executive orders/guidelines issued by the ministry undermine and dilute the FRA and threaten the rights of adivasis and forest dwellers, CSD demands that the 2022 FC Rules should be rescinded forthwith. Demanding withdrawal of such anti-people and anti-environment rules CSD Odisha organised a protest Dharana in front of State Assembly today on 25th November 2022 and submitted memorandums to the Hon’ble Governor of Odisha, Chief Secretary and Commissioner-cum-Secretary, ST & SC Development Department for conveying our concerns against the FC Rules 2022 to the Central Government for its withdrawal. The memorandums w

'Unprecedented rise' of attacks on students of Delhi university by ABVP condemned

Counterview Desk  A statement, sent as an email alert by "concerned teachers and students of Delhi University", referring to a protest organised against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad's (ABVP's), has alleged “brutal” attack on students and teachers demanding the release of civil rights leader Prof GN Saibaba and others from “unjust incarceration.” “We are seeing an unprecedented rise of attacks on the students of our university by the fascist ABVP goons. Almost every week we see our fellow students and activists getting attacked physically by the lackeys of this current Brahmanical Hindutva fascist regime”, the statement claimed. Text : A joint protest was organised by the students and teachers of Delhi University on 2nd of December against the brutal attack by ABVP goons. On 1st of December, activists of Bhagat Singh Chatra Ekta Manch (bsCEM), Lawyers Against Atrocities (LAA) and many other organisations as a part of Campaign Against State Repression (CASR),

Never-ending saga of sin tax: What if murder is taxed at Rs 1 crore, rape at Rs 5 crore?

By Moses Raj GS, Sangeetha Thomas*  What should have ended by June 30, 2022 as a 5 year experiment has resurfaced. The government has extended the levy of GST compensation cess by another 4 years till March 31, 2026. This cess, dubbed as the sin tax imposed on sin(ful) goods, is double the highest slab on indirect taxes. But only a few pay for it and the majority benefit, unendingly. The year 2017 is a landmark year for indirect taxes. With the grand idea of ‘One Nation, One Tax’ as a fiscal slogan subsuming all State based taxes such as octroi /entry tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), sales tax, taxes on lottery, betting and gambling, luxury tax, purchase tax, entertainment tax, property tax, professional tax and central sales tax into a single framework of Goods and Services Tax (GST) changed the contours of revenue collection. Complicating it further, India, with each State having its own size and revenue problems, has the most complex and highly centralised indirect tax structure in the w

Muslims, Dalits off Bangladesh border 'don't have acess to' water, power, farmland

Counterview Desk  Kirity Roy, secretary, civil rights group Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), in a letter to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, has revealed how, even after 75 years of Independence, Muslims and Dalits living next to the India-Bangladesh border do not have access to electricity, drinking water, even to their own land. Stating that the “horrible situation” has due to “illegal restriction on the agricultural activities” imposed by the Border Security Force (BSF), plunging “farmers and their families into deeper poverty”, the letter, referring to the plight of 1,200 people reside in the Changmari village, states, There are about 200 acres of cultivable lands out of 3,500 acres is situated beyond the border fence. “The ingress and egress of the farmers to their own agricultural land through the fencing gates are regulated by the BSF. The soil and climate of this region is very suitable for jute and maize cultivation”, it adds. Text: This letter is

Climate change 'can't be fought' with fancy issues: re-engineering cities, green energy

By Shankar Sharma*  "The Hindu" has carried a discussion paper in the form of an interview, Can poor countries afford to go green? Many such articles/ opinion pieces are making the grievous mistake of ignoring a fundamental question: what is the true cost of climate change (CC), and can poor countries, or for that matter any community, afford not to do all that is feasible to address the threats of  CC; instead of wasting our time and resources in endlessly deliberating on the so called "financial/economic costs" of the much needed transition. Such articles seem to focus only on high profile / glamorous/ debatable stuff, and ignore the basic issues which we all can do something or the other to minimise the impacts of CC in the short-term, and which may probably lead to long term solution. The opinion pieces/ discussion, as above, are guilty of conveniently ignoring the basic question: what is the fundamental cause of CC? The answer should be: the unsustainable dema

Nullify environmental release, uproot GM mustard plants: 111 doctors urge Modi

Counterview Desk  In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as many as 111 medical professionals , most of them senior doctors, has expressed concern with regard to human health implications of the genetically modified (GM) herbicide tolerant (HT) mustard that got approved by Government of India, with indications that it has already been planted in at least six locations. Floated by Dr Rupal M Dalal, a Mumbai-based pediatrician, the letter, even as “welcoming” Modi’s “unprecedented push” towards non-chemical farming in the country for the benefit of environment, nature, consumers and farmers, it said, “HT GM mustard will push the country in the opposite direction.” “A herbicide tolerant crop will put an end to diversity-based cropping, which is important not just for soil health but human health and expose consumers and farmers to a toxic herbicide with serious long term health implications”, it added. The letter seeks the Prime Minister’s urgent intervention to not only withdraw th