IN a careful shift from his earlier three Vijayadashmi speeches delivered during the tenure of Narendra Modi government, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, on Sunday, combined his praise of Modi government in the earlier speeches with a caution that the government must lay stress on implementation of its “well-intentioned” schemes with incorporation of feedback mechanism.
In his latest Vijayadashmi speech, Bhagwat praised the Modi government on his efforts to enhance India’s international prestige, particularly a very “courageous and restraintful” handling of issues like Doklam standoff with China and stifling of terror funds to separatists in Jammu and Kashmir. Bhagwat, however, asked the government and administration to not allow the informal sectors like small and medium enterprises, self-employing cottage industry and agriculture to suffer.
In an unusual gesture, Bhagwat also called for handling the Kashmir valley in a manner that would create “affinity” in the minds of the people there for the country.
Bhagwat’s elaborate dwelling on health of informal sector, which he said was the lifeline of Indian economy and GDP, assumes significance in the wake of the sector taking the biggest blow during Modi government’s demonetisation drive. Bhagwat, however, was careful enough not to link suffering of informal sectors to demonetisation.
In what may perhaps be a reference to demonetisation, Bhagwat also termed it as a “courageous decision”.
With former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, Union Surface Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in attendance, Bhagwat also called for continuing cow protection campaign without caring for “play of words” like “vigilantism” being used to demonise the campaign. “Our Constitution mandates cow protection. But now-a-days some people have embroiled it in controversial language. It is unfair to link the cow protectors or entire activity of cow protection with violent incidents or communal feelings. Cow-protectors and promoters who are piously involved in the activity should not worry or get distracted with the well intentioned statements by highly placed persons in the government or remarks made by the Supreme Court,” Bhagwat said, adding, “many activists who were peacefully involved in cow protection were attacked and killed. This issue is neither discussed nor being inquired.”
Bhagwat chose not to criticise the government but called for careful check on the “sensitivity” and “efficiency” of the administration in reaching the benefits to the last man. While claiming that the economy has progressed well in the past three years, Bhagwat called for a model based on country’s “socio-economic and cultural conditions”. “Employment means work for every hand and enough remuneration. On these parameters, the biggest contribution is made by small, medium and handicraft industry, retail or small self-employed businesses, cooperative sector and agro and agro-allied sector. Crores get employment in these sectors and most of the people standing in the last line of the society are also from these sectors,” he said, adding, “although some tremors and instability is expected, it should be kept in mind that these sectors should feel the minimum heat and ultimately they should get the maximum strength.”
He, however, accepted the “inevitability” of continuing with some of the existing “faulty” parameters such as GDP to be able to remain in tune with global economy.
The RSS chief called for “remunerative prices for agricultural produce based on cost of production” to insulate the farmers from the vagaries of nature as well as market fluctuations in prices and insisted that everybody will have to accept the prices without complaints.
Bhagwat praised the Modi government on international relations. “Bharat’s strong and determined stand has been visible in the incidents like Doklam, on the borders as well as in international standing to Bharat,” he said.
The most significant departure of the RSS chief was on dealing with the people of Kashmir valley. While observing that army and police being given a free hand is yielding good results inside and across the border, Bhagwat referred to the “incomplete” task of rehabilitating Kashmiri pandits and “ensuring equitable development” among all three regions of Jammu and Kashmir, vis Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir valley. Bhagwat went on to say, “while firmness towards separatists and stifling of funds to them is yielding good results. It should be continued but the people in the valley must get a sense of India’s affinity. Their mindset must gel with the mindset of rest of India. For this, if need be, some old provisions will have to go and some new provisions will have to be ushered in. If government administration and society put their heads together and move in direction, the Kashmir problem can be resolved very soon.”
The RSS chief, however, put forth a very strong stand against call for giving asylum to the Rohingyas. “The Rohingyas are being driven out of Myanmar mainly due to their continuous violent and criminal separatist activities and linkages with the terrorist groups. Any decision regarding them should be taken by keeping in mind that they will definitely be a threat to national security and integrity,” Bhagwat said.
Bhagwat also called for strengthening of armed forces by providing them with more and sophisticated resources and also exhorted countrymen to send more and more of their children to the armed and security forces.
Chief gust, Dalit spiritual leader Baba Nirmaldas couldn’t attend the programme “due to ill-health”, the audience was told.