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Are there differences in BJP RSS?

Are there differences in BJP RSS?

Prabha Gupta May 23,2024

As the election season (April-May 2024) progresses, there are reports that RSS volunteers are not actively helping the BJP secure votes this time. Except for the 1984 general elections following the anti-Sikh riots, the RSS has supported the BJP in all previous elections. The role of the RSS in this election is a topic of discussion. BJP President J.P. Nadda, in an interview with The Indian Express (19 May 2024), asserted that the RSS is a cultural-social organization, while the BJP is a political party. Nadda stated, “The BJP is now self-reliant and fully capable of making its own decisions. The party has matured over the years, and the situation is no longer like the Atal Bihari Vajpayee era, when it was completely dependent on the RSS.”

Narendra Modi’s swift rise in Indian politics, his autocratic decision-making, and the creation of a formidable image has been cultivated in various ways, with significant assistance from the so-called “Godi media.” Much of the media is controlled by corporate tycoons influenced by Modi. Some may believe that the BJP, like any other party, is or has become autonomous. But is this true? Can this be true?

As we all know, the RSS was established in response to the growing sense of Indian identity during the independence movement. This anti-colonial struggle was rooted in the values of pluralism and diversity. As Dalits began their quest for social equality, the need for the RSS became more pronounced. The creation of this Hindu nationalist organization was influenced by the nationalistic ideologies of Mussolini and Hitler. Similar to the Hindu Mahasabha, another Hindu nationalist organization, the RSS did not initially enter the political arena directly. Instead, it focused on training volunteers and propagators in Hindu nationalism.

Meanwhile, the RSS continued to indoctrinate schoolchildren with the ideology of Hindu nationalism in its shakhas, teaching them to disdain Muslims and glorify India’s past. According to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi was made possible by the hatred spread by the RSS. Patel believed that “the communal poison spread by the RSS was responsible for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi,” and stated that “as a result of this poison, the country had to sacrifice the precious life of Gandhiji.”

The RSS and its political wing, Jan Sangh, eagerly participated in the movement led by Jayaprakash Narayan in 1975. The RSS soon gained significant influence within the movement. The organization’s image had been tarnished by its association with Gandhi’s assassination, but JP’s involvement lent it newfound recognition and acceptance. Jan Sangh merged with the Janata Party, which was inspired by JP. However, other constituents of the Janata Party demanded that Jan Sangh leaders sever their ties with the RSS and renounce dual membership (in both the Janata Party and the RSS). The leaders of Jan Sangh, whose primary loyalty remained with the RSS, left the Janata Party and founded the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980.

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