Why are the state elections so crucial for the RSS ideology?

Modi is still in election mode because RSS has not won yetPrime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a rally in Bhagalpur (BJP Bihar twitter handle)
Blog BIHAR ELECTIONS Monday, October 12, 2015 - 14:11

By Raju P Nair

On May 16, 2014, Narendra Modi registered a thumping victory and was subsequently sworn in as the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy – a decisive mandate after three decades. In the victory rally, the aggressive and forceful communicator who used sarcasm, insinuations and allegations against opponents as never before, talked about consensus and diplomacy. Many including Congress MP Shashi Tharoor perceived the Prime Minister Modi as a statesman in making and even termed him as Narendra Modi 2.

One and half years down the line when the election to Bihar assembly is underway, you see a Narendra Modi who is much more aggressive than in the general elections. In Bihar, the Prime Minister of the country is addressing 22 election rallies betting his political credibility. As Nitish Kumar asked, is Narendra Modi the chief ministerial candidate in Bihar? Why does Narendra Modi try so hard in the states even after he suffered a major setback in Delhi after the landslide victory? The answer is in 2014 only Narendra Modi won. But for the RSS ideology, victory is yet to come.

Why are the state elections so crucial for the RSS ideology? The parliamentary system of this country has ensured that even when one party gets a brute majority, their programs can be implemented only with collective decisions through Rajya Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha represents the diverse interests of the states and that is where the RSS ideology of the BJP suffers setback. In Bihar, 11 out of 16 Rajya Sabha seats and in Uttar Pradesh 20 out of 31 seats will be vacant by 2018 as the term of the present Rajya Sabha members from these states expires. Narendra Modi hopes that if BJP and allies can repeat the 2014 election victory in 172 Assembly seats in Bihar this month and 337 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh in the 2016 state elections, the RSS can get a majority of Rajya Sabha members in these two states in 2018. These Rajya Sabha MPs, along with the nominal members that come from other states, will outnumber the opposition parties in Rajya Sabha who have been a hurdle for the RSS to implement their agenda like Uniform Civil Code or anti-conversion law or amending the constitution to delete the “secular” term to make India a Hindu Rashtra. Narendra Modi’s ‘pro-capitalist’ economic agenda is also being blocked by the opposition in the Rajya Sabha where it is in a majority. The Land Bill is one such instance where Narendra Modi had to come to his knees when he fell short of support in the number game.

There, lies the importance of the selective silence and aggression Narendra Modi displays. People question Narendra Modi’s silence on the Dadri killing or number of instigative comments of his own MPs and party leaders, some of them even calling for civil war. Many senior journalists believed, or were rather made to believe, that Modi urging people to not believe the “ulte seedhe” political comments as a strong message to the Yogi Adithyanaths, Sadhvi Prachis and Azam Khan types. The fact that the Prime Minister of India chose a BJP election rally platform in Bihar to make that statement without mentioning Dadri itself sends the message about whom the guns were trained at.

It will be naive for a political student to believe that a person like Narendra Modi who can get the pulse and feel of the people does not realise that the people beyond the Hindi heartland see through his art of silence in the communal unrest that the country is slipping to.  One cannot ignore the fact that the communal riots or instigations are mainly concentrated to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and not in the other BJP ruled states like Rajasthan, Chathhisgarh or so on. Modi believes that BJP can win the Hindi heartland only by communal polarization in these two states. Only if Narendra Modi can repeat the BJP victory in the Hindi heartland, the RSS agenda of Hindu Rashtra can be fulfilled in 2018. Until then, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh will see many more Dadris.

The electoral victory in Bihar is hence equally crucial for both the RSS ideology and the secular front. The Bihar election is also a cross road for the country to decide whether it has to take the Hindu Rashtra path or secular path. RSS realizes that they are left with very less time to implement their agenda in the country. They very well understand that the BJP or Modi cannot repeat the 2014 election victory that was won by raising hopes and expectations beyond the point of realisation.

If at all NDA wins the election in 2019, it will be hard for the BJP to get simple majority; it might even have to run a minority government and hence their plan of action has to be short term and not long term.

Hence the politics and ideology of the RSS would prefer Narendra Modi to be a politician and not statesman. Narendra Modi does not care about the enmity he is creating in Parliament between the Treasury and Opposition benches which is hurting the development agenda he put forth before elections, because for him 2014 was only a half victory and his real victory is only when the RSS agenda is implemented.

The makers of the Indian Constitution had a larger vision of the pluralism and diversity which is preventing this country from having a superior power for any ideology. In the last 60 years, the country consistently supported the socialist agenda. Now Bihar raises the question of whether this country will go the other way.  Today the responsibility to uphold the pluralism and diversity of this country is unknowingly vested with the farmers and poor in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, a constituency which Narendra Modi has alienated in the last 18 months. Ultimately, the country gets the politics it deserves!

(The author is a member of the Indian National Congress and runs No to Hartal campaign)

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