September 04, 2015

India: Modi govt’s ‘appraisal’ - Answerable to people or Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS boss? | Editorial, The Tribue)

The Tribune (India), September 5 2015


Modi govt’s ‘appraisal’: Answerable to people or Mohan Bhagwat?

Reports of Central ministers making presentations of their work to a gathering of the RSS and its 15 affiliates have kicked up a controversy. The RSS top brass meets twice a year but this time the event made headlines because the Prime Minister and his ministerial team attended it with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in the chair. Though neither the RSS nor the BJP finds anything amiss, this is something that has not happened before. The Constitution makes the government answerable to people through their representatives in Parliament and not to any organisation, leave alone a fanatical group with Hinduisation of society on its agenda.

Opposition leaders have described this so-called exercise of “exchange of notes” as the RSS doing “a three-day performance appraisal” of the Modi government. The PM and Central ministers, who have not bothered to share with people what their thinking is on important issues like internal security, ceasefire violations, the religion census, the Patidar quota agitation, education policy, labour reforms and one rank, one pension, could not refuse summoning to come for a briefing before the RSS functionaries. In the past when the BJP was in power at the Centre, the then Prime Minister Vajpayee had kept the RSS at a respectful distance, not letting it influence the government's policies or priorities. A former 'pracharak', Modi has allowed himself to be guided by the RSS. This is also clear from the way the RSS initiative of “saffronisation” of education has been pushed through a pliable, lightweight minister at the helm. Key posts in top 14 institutions, including the IITs, IIMs, NCERT, ICCR, ICHR, censor board and FTIL, have been handed over to RSS activists.

Impropriety is not limited to the elected representatives of people submitting themselves to questioning by unelected RSS bosses. Defence Minister Parrikar along with the Army Chief and the Northern Army Commander graced the signing of a DRDO agreement with Yoga guru Ramdev’s company in Leh last Sunday. People cast their votes based on the BJP manifesto, thinking Modi is his own man — the way he was in Gujarat. But his government has embraced the RSS agenda. This amounts to cheating.