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Political Play
Ratan Sharda
Politics & RSS - Part II 21 June, 2014
Imposition of draconian Emergency and suppression of civil liberties led to RSS putting its entire organizational might to fight against this dictatorship and revive democracy. Nearly 70000 people out of approx. one lakh imprisoned during 18 months of Emergency period were from RSS and its allied organizations.

This struggle finally ended with elections being called. At this juncture senior leader of RSS working underground at that time, Prof Rajendra Singh, acted as a catalyst in forging Janata Party into a single entity in spite of many ego issues of leaders. Workers and leaders of the political parties who were not in prison were scared and not ready to come out openly to work in elections. So, RSS volunteers took it upon themselves to run the election campaign for Janata Party. As the breeze of change began to blow and atmosphere suddenly became surcharged, other workers and citizens too came out and began working in election enthusiastically. Rest is history.

Many people recall that 2014 election Modi wave reminded them of Janata Party wave of 1977. Once Janata Party won the elections, and ban on RSS was lifted; RSS withdrew from political arena and began its normal business of organizing citizens into a patriotic, disciplined and proud society. It is a part recent history how Socialist groups, envious and afraid of ex-Jan Sangh's organizational strength, generated an artificial conspiracy of dual membership of Jan Sangh members claiming they were also members of RSS.

It was strange that this fact stuck them only after winning elections on the shoulders of RSS and forming the government! This conflict led to break up of Janata Party with ejection of Jan Sangh group from it and downfall of first non-Congress government; and birth of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It is a known fact that RSS cadre did not have the kind of affinity for BJP as it had for Jan Sangh. I have not touched ideological issues here because narrative is around interactions between active politics and RSS.

Ram Mandir movement resulted in RSS getting involved in politics as Mr. LK Advani took political lead in this movement by supporting building of Ram temple. Till that time it was purely a cultural and religious movement involving all strata of society and multiple organizations. RSS was banned for the third time after destruction of Babri structure.

The ban was lifted after some months. Various incidents and history of that period contributed to defeat of Congress, formation of various non-Congress governments that culminated in installation of BJP led government in 1998. RSS was not very deeply involved in 1998 elections but its indirect influence due to Ram Janmabhoomi movement cannot be overlooked. It did not take any interest in subsequent elections of 2004 and 2009.

Involvement of RSS was never as deep as in 2014 elections that saw BJP led by Modi coming to power on its own. As noted above, RSS chiefs like Late Balsaheb Deoras had indicated earlier that RSS was not interested in politics but if situation demanded it would not hesitate in taking interest for the good of the nation. The critical factor that might have influenced RSS leadership into taking the plunge was blatantly anti-Hindu bias of Congress led government and targeting of innocent RSS workers, prachaaraks and Hindus in the name of 'Saffron Terror', while mollycoddling terrorists in hope of appeasing its traditional vote bank, blatantly anti-Hindu communal violence bill, poor internal and external security etc. etc.

This time RSS chief, Dr. Mohan Bhagwat, told his cadre firmly that they should see to it that all citizens become register as voters and ensure 100% voting. It was implied that if there is big increase in voting %, vote bank politics won't work. Literature distributed by RSS volunteers did not mention any party, but highlighted critical issues faced by the nation. They were told to avoid naming any political party during this mass contact programme.

Result of this campaign is visible now. It is the first majority government of a genuine non-Congress organization that has non-Congress DNA. With elections over, RSS workers have gone back to their normal organizational work without fanfare. All the senior RSS leaders went about their normal scheduled tours or relaxed at their respective offices. That its summer training camps all over India were organized as per schedule this year too, shows its organizational commitment and balanced approach to national issues.

From historical perspective it is clear that RSS gets involved in active politics only when strategic interests of nation and society are impacted, otherwise it keeps aloof from field level politics and party politics. It should be also apparent to its opponents that it is in interest of political parties of all hues not to force RSS into active political fights as it has capability to change the political course of the nation if it resolves to do so.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
Ratan Sharda is a citizen journalist. He has authored books like 'Secrets of RSS'. A marketing consultant by profession, Mr. Sharda is a keen observer of the country's political scenario.
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