Serious concerns over the situation in the country are being expressed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. These are in the context of Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah not yet announcing his new team, including members of the National Executive. However, over the weekend Shah has convened a meeting of the National Executive in the capital and has sent invites to the NE members nominated last year. The two-day meet will take stock of the present political and economic situation in the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to address the members on Sunday, 20 March during the culmination of the final session.
Normally speaking, the term of the National Executive is co-terminus with that of the president, meaning, that the old body ceased to exist after Amit Shah’s earlier term ended. Shah has not declared the new National Executive, which, as per the party Constitution, must meet once in at least three months. However, during his entire tenure of nearly two years, the National Executive has met only two times. Shah has decided to call his previous NE members for the conclave, taking advantage of a clause that the old members could continue till their replacements are announced. He is still working on names for his new team. However, the delay is sparking off speculation over the stance of the RSS on the names being brought forward.
Sources said that though the RSS had endorsed Shah’s name for a fresh term at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it has serious reservations on the situation in the country. The Sangh, which has always stood by its primary objective of uniting Hindu society and its leadership, is appalled by the way things have taken a turn in Haryana following the Jat agitation and in Gujarat, where the Patels, who have been the backbone of the BJP, are disgruntled with the treatment meted out to Hardik Patel. The RSS is worried over the stratification of Hindu society, leading to polarisation amongst various castes. It is concurrently viewing the developments in Jammu and Kashmir and the current lack of an amicable solution. The engagement with Pakistan and its ramifications are further cause of anxiety in Sangh circles. The RSS is further looking at the manner in which some ministers at the Centre are working and would be happy to see them being dropped. The Sangh’s concerns, as well as suggestions, have been communicated to the right quarters in the party as there are clear lines of communication between the RSS and Prime Minister Modi.
There is also speculation why Amit Shah’s election as BJP president has not yet been ratified by the National Council or at a plenary session, which normally is the case whenever a new president is elected in order to complete the process. Questions have been thrown up regarding New Delhi as the venue of the National Executive meeting, since, as per convention, such meetings are held in poll bound states. There had been a discussion on Kolkata as a possible venue but the idea was put into abeyance after the polls were announced, as it would have been difficult to make arrangements for over 200 persons in the West Bengal capital at such a short notice.
Another matter on which there has been a lot of talk in the Sangh is the manner in which senior leaders like L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar, Yashwant Sinha and some others have been sidelined. The creation of the Marg Darshak Mandal, to which these leaders were elevated, was contrary to the BJP Constitution, where no such provision exists. Overall, however, the smooth sailing in public of the Modi government and the RSS is expected to continue, no matter what differences are there in private over some of the issues and the people.