April 19, 2005
Apropos of the article, ‘Sudarshan chakra’ (IE, April 14), there is nothing radically new in RSS Sarsanghchalak K.S. Sudarshan suggesting that former prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, should retire. Vajpayee has never been in ideological step with the Sangh Parivar and has consistently given the impression that Jawaharlal Nehru was his ideal. He formally declared his preference for Gandhian socialism over Hindutva when he took the lead in establishing the Bharatiya Janata Party. In his inaugural address in December 1980, he clarified that this was a new party and not an offspring of the Jana Sangh. In 1992, when the Babri edifice was demolished, he was categorical in his condemnation.
While absolving Atalji for his indifference to Hindutva, few members of the parivar have been able to forgive him for his political dishonesty. He used all and every facility of not only the Jana Sangh and the BJP, but also of the Sangh. He had no hesitation in riding the Ayodhya wave to garner more seats in the Lok Sabhas of ’89, ’91, ’96, and ’98. He designed his own agenda for governance, keeping in view Nehru’s success, especially on the world stage. Any time the Sangh had reservations on any policy, its views were rebuffed on the pretext that the BJP’s allies would not accept a change.
There is hardly a leader in the Sangh who has not read Veer Savarkar’s definition of Hindutva and does not understand what it stands for. Yet the Sangh tolerated Vajpayee’s three faces of Hindutva: Article 370, Article 44 and Ayodhya. The former two are integral parts of the Constitution. The fact that the Ayodhya issue was in court provided an excuse. These were then kept on the back-burner in order to keep the NDA flame burning. Does this not indicate that there was hardly any real Hindutva in BJP’s politics under Vajpayee’s watch, at any stage?
The infiltrators from Bangladesh were talked about, both inside and outside Parliament, but nothing was done. No attempt was made to repeal the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act for Assam on the pretext that the BJP did not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha. The truth, however, was that Vajpayee did not want to lose the sympathy of Muslims. This stratagem was an adaptation from Nehru who had used the Muslim vote bank as a balance against nationalist Congressmen like P.D. Tandon, K.M. Munshi, S.K. Patil, et al. Nevertheless, the Sangh’s patience remained intact. One more straw on the camel’s back was Vajpayee’s donning of a green pugree while campaigning for the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. The result was that the RSS followers campaigned with their heads and limbs, but without their hearts.
Now that the climax has been reached on the TV screen, it seems unlikely that Vajpayeeji can indefinitely avoid retirement. No matter what consolatory assurances are given, it is unlikely that the Sangh can withdraw what it has said on the basis of its long years of disappointment.
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