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Relation between RSS and BJP

Posted by Admin on June 19, 2014 | Comment

Last year, a commentary in one of the esteemed news dailies observed that RSS will “benefit a bit” if Modi wins. However, if he lost, it will be his failure only. Winning the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was “everything” for Modi, but for RSS it was “one of the instruments” to spread the message of its larger goal. That pretty much explains the pan-India status that the organisation has earned for itself. Though, the debate continues about the political role of the Sangh, the fact remains that the RSS always has the last say, and its involvement can be seen at almost all levels in the BJP as well.

Relation between RSS and BJP

What is RSS?

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which on translation means ‘National Volunteer Organisation.’ Founded in the year 1925, the group claims to be driven by the guiding principle of “selfless service to the nation.” Over the years, RSS has expanded its ambit of operations. From being just an educational group in the pre-independence era that was focused on countering British colonialism, it has now graduated into a “charitable, educational, right-wing, Hindu nationalist group.”

Inspired from the right-wing groups that flourished in Europe during World War II, members of RSS actively participated in several political and social movements apart from the freedom movement. Soon, it became one of the most prominent Hindu nationalist groups in the country, setting up schools and charities. Organisations such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) are inspired by the RSS ideology, and they refer to themselves as members of the Sangh Parivar.

However, a spate of unexpected incidents has labelled RSS as an extremist group that has participated in activities unleashing violence against religious minorities. Instances such as the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and the Babri Masjid demolition brought forward the involvement of RSS, creating a furore in the entire country.

Membership and Training in RSS

Becoming a member of RSS doesn’t require a formal procedure to be followed. Any Hindu male can join the nearest ‘Shakha’ (unit). It’s to be noted, that there is no fees for joining the group. Once an individual starts attending the group’s activities, he is considered as its rightful member. Women who want to become a RSS member can similarly join the Rashtriya Sevika Samiti.

Since RSS strives to develop a sense of unity among the Swayamsevaks, it advocates wearing a uniform at special functions. Every member has to go through a series of activities on a regular basis as a part of the Shakha program, which consists of physical exercises, group discussions, reading sessions, patriotic songs, and prayer to our motherland. According to the official website of RSS, the group’s units are spread across 50,000 villages and towns in India.

RSS-BJP Relationship – Do we see increasing clout of RSS?

BJP is regarded as the political wing of the RSS, and the party’s dependence on the RSS has always been present. In fact, at least 60% of the BJP cadre is proud of their Sangh background. The percentage is even higher in the Hindi hinterland and states like Maharashtra. BJP has derived efficient leaders from the organisation or its front organisations. The group acts as a “mentor and a fatherly figure” to the BJP. According to reports, RSS wields the power to decide the President of the BJP. In case you don’t know, about 30-40 RSS delegates are placed at different levels within the BJP. It’s an exercise that takes place every few years. That’s exactly how BJP got its phenomenal leaders such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani.

It’s an open secret that RSS workers had thrown their full weight during the campaigning for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. To remind you, BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi was also a choice made by the RSS. Acting as the parent organisation to BJP, it had gone full throttle to ensure Modi’s victory. Although RSS had tried to maintain a “discreet distance” from the BJP, it didn’t think twice before showing solidarity with BJP in public and getting involved during the poll campaigns.

It can’t be said for sure whether BJP will remain in the shadow of RSS, but yes, the party might not be able to “shake off this dependence” and the RSS shall continue to have an upper hand always.