A senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader, speaking strictly on condition of anonymity, has conceded that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) workers are fully involved in the 2014 general election campaign.
The senior leader reminded that BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi was the RSS’ choice, and so the mother organisation is doing everything possible to ensure the political party's victory. It is a commonly known that there the BJP and the RSS share a symbiotic relationship even though BJP leaders have always tried to project the party as an independent entity and the RSS maintains a discreet distance from the BJP. But in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the two sides are not shying from showing the “extended family” unity.
The senior party leader said that any person contesting an election would naturally seek the help of family members as well as those of the extended family, friends and acquaintances. In a similar manner, he said, it is but natural that the BJP should seek the help of the RSS and the RSS to respond to the call.
The BJP leader said that the RSS is keen to work for BJP’s victory because it is concerned about the terrorist challenge that the country faces and the Congress-led UPA government’s weak response to it. He has also pointed out that attempts to conjure up the ogre of Hindu terrorism is a matter of concern for the RSS.
Interpreting the presence of the RSS top brass, including Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat, at the recent release of BJP patriarch LK Advani's book, a collection of his blog posts, the BJP leader said that it was a clear message that contrary to the media perception there is no rift between Advani and the RSS.
Bhagwat's statement that the BJP needs Advani's experience is an indication that the RSS knows that Advani is an asset to the party. The BJP leader was not willing to speculate on the question that Advani could still turn out to be an acceptable PM candidate in case the BJP does not manage to get sufficient numbers and the potential allies have reservations about Modi.
The BJP leader did not think that AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal was a right-winger and RSS sympathisers would vote for him. He said that RSS workers would never vote for Kejriwal because Kejriwal had criticised the RSS and the RSS workers do not vote for such a man. To illustrate his point, he gave the example of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, who contested against Amitabch Bachchan from Allahabad in 1984. Apparently, Bachchan visited the RSS office and all RSS votes went to the HIndi film actor. He said that the RSS workers were unhappy with Bahuguna because the veteran politician was mercilessly critical of the organisation. The BJP leader admitted that the RSS voted for Bachchan and Congress because of the assassination of Indira Gandhi as well.
The BJP's confidence is higher now that it knows that the RSS workers are going to throw their full weight behind the party. It is a political myth that the Congress and the BJP believe that the RSS is a game changer in elections. Congress leaders always attribute their electoral defeat to the RSS, and the BJP is at a loss to explain its own poll losses despite the RSS. There is of course the strange fact that after the 2009 Congress-led UPA victory, the RSS had made an official statement that the Congress victory was good for the country.