Amid protests over land bill, Amit Shah meets RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

The Sangh has also reacted cautiously to the Hindutva agenda seemingly taking a backseat for the BJP-led government.

Written by Vivek Deshpande | New Delhi | Updated: May 17, 2015 9:44 am
land bill, Amit Shah, BJP Land bill, RSS Land bill, Land Bill sangh Privar Amit Shah

Worried over the differences between the BJP-led NDA government and some outfits of the Sangh Parivar over the land bill, the RSS is trying to find a way to resolve the issues in a series of meetings, said sources.

BJP president Amit Shah met Mohan Bhagwat at the Sangh’s headquarters in Nagpur on Saturday, days after the RSS chief met Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Shah later met Union Minister for Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari.

BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and  Manohar Parrikar will meet Bhagwat on Sunday.

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A senior BJP functionary said there was “nothing unusual” about the meeting. “Senior BJP leaders and the RSS chief often interact and share information on important developments in the country or abroad. Some times they seek his guidance or apprise him about certain policies or organisational matters,” he said.

The perceived beating taken by the Narendra Modi-led government over the land bill, amid allegations that the bill is anti-farmer and strong protests against it by the opposition, has been a major cause of worry for the RSS, said sources. Some organisations under the aegis of the Sangh Parivar — Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh and Swadeshi Jagran Manch — have voiced their opposition to land acquisition from farmers as well.

The RSS seemed to be trying to strike a middle ground on the issue, with general secretary Bhayyaji Joshi defending the opposition to the land bill by some Sangh Parivar affiliates back in March, saying, “Various organisations have their own independent agendas and the government should take what they have to say as suggestions, not criticisms.”

Joshi had also dispelled doubts about whether the central government had complete support of the RSS, saying, “The general direction of the government’s functioning is right.”

Sources in the Sangh pointed out, “The BJP’s whole development promise hinges on land acquisition. If the party is unable to push it, it will end up cutting a sorry figure. More so, if the problem is posed by the parivar’s own organisations.”

RSS leader Dattatreya Hosbale had even gone so far as to say that the land bill, with the amendments, was no longer against the cause of farmers and parivar outfits should sort out the issue with the government “in a spirit of coordination and not confrontation”.

The Sangh has also reacted cautiously to the Hindutva agenda seemingly taking a backseat for the BJP-led government.  When Hosbale was asked about the construction of the Ram Temple — a pivotal issue for the Sangh Parivar — he had said it will happen in due course.

The RSS’s conciliatory tone towards the Modi government is in sharp contrast to its strong stance when the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee was in power. The RSS had then openly criticised the BJP-led government for shunning its swadeshi and Hindutva agendas.

But the reason behind the RSS’s current efforts to resolve issues between Parivar outfits and the government is because it has a “long-term” plan, said a senior Sangh leader.

“The RSS has firmly positioned itself behind the government not because it values Modi’s individual persona over the parivar as a whole, but because it doesn’t want to jeopardise its long-term plan to expand the RSS network to over 6.5 lakh villages in the country. For the programme to succeed, it is necessary for the BJP government to stay in power for at least 10 years. So any issue posing a threat to the government is a matter of worry for the organisation,” said the leader.

(With inputs from Mumbai)

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