The RSS on Friday told its cadres that the Lok Sabha election was a “good opportunity” to “play our role” to “bring about change” in the country, the most categorical assertion yet of the Sangh’s political role in the polls.
“Today, the nation expects a change. It is the active role of the enlightened voters that is going to shape the future destiny of our nation. So, it is for us to play our role assessing its implication correctly, so as to bring about the change that will reflect the will and aspirations of the common people,” said the annual report presented by RSS number two Bhaiyyaji Joshi before the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha meet in Bangalore.
While the report did not mention BJP as the harbinger of “change”, it stressed that change was needed against the Congress-led UPA government, whose “commitment to the nation” was under question. “In the near future, Lok Sabha elections will be held. This is a good opportunity for our countrymen. The credibility, honesty and commitment to the nation of the present government have become questionable,” said the report.
The report did not mention the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, but RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale made clear to reporters that the Sangh was actively backing Modi’s bid.
“Modi is a strong leader. He is a swayamsevak himself and we are proud of it. The country wants change. He has proved his worth in Gujarat,” Hosabale said after the inauguration of the three-day conclave. BJP president Rajnath Singh and party general secretary (organisation) Ramlal, a pracharak whom the RSS has loaned to the party, will participate in the deliberations on Saturday.
While the RSS has consistently claimed to be aloof from political activities, top Sangh functionaries have been active in the BJP’s organisational matters in the run up to the elections.
The most visible example of this came last June when BJP patriarch L K Advani resigned from the party’s decision-making forums to protest the naming of Modi as the chief of the central campaign committee. The crisis was defused after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat intervened.
The RSS intervened again in September to facilitate Modi’s elevation as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. Bhaiyyaji Joshi got together Advani and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj to discuss the matter with Rajnath at Advani’s residence.
During this period, the RSS brass also organised a two-day coordination meeting between the party leadership and the Sangh’s dozen-odd organisations, after which the RSS instructed its cadres to work extensively to enrol voters and mobilise Hindu votes.