New Delhi: The 22 MLAs who resigned from the Madhya Pradesh assembly and brought down the Kamal Nath government in March are now being taught the values and culture associated with their new party, the BJP, and its ideological fount, the RSS.
The former Congress leaders are being given books such as a biography of former BJP national president Kushabhau Thakre to reshape their own ideology.
The project is being led by senior BJP leader Kamal Patel, the agriculture minister in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, and the plan is to provide the new inductees more books about RSS ideologues.
On their part, the former MLAs have also willingly agreed to participate in this ideological transformation course of sorts.
Difference between Congress and BJP
Patel told ThePrint that there was a “lot of difference” between the ideologies of the Congress and the BJP.
“For the Congress, self-service comes first, then the party, and only then the country. But for the BJP, the country is always first, and then the party. Our iconic leaders like Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Kushabhau Thakre had devoted their entire lives for the country. So, it is our duty to tell everyone about their contribution,” he said.
“Those who have left the Congress and joined the BJP have now become members of our own family. All these MLAs and ministers are our friends. They were unaware about our ideology, so we are distributing a biography of Kushabhau Thakre ji, who remains an inspirational figure to all of us in the Madhya Pradesh BJP,” Patel said.
He added, “While presenting this book to my fellow MLAs and ministers, I have requested them to definitely read it. If you follow the path of Thakre ji, your life will not only be successful but meaningful. I have personally gifted this book to two fellow ministers, Tulsi Silavat and Govind Rajput.”
Another senior BJP leader, who spoke anonymously, added: “The new leaders will also be made aware about RSS’ functions and workings, and be tutored about Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya’s philosophy of ‘integral humanism’.”
This leader added: “They have been previously associated with the Congress ideology. Their style of functioning is completely different because the Congress believes in individual-oriented politics. There, the party is nothing but the supreme leader is everything. On the other hand, BJP has always been a cadre-based party.”
Tulsi Silavat, one of the Congress leaders who joined the BJP and is now water resources minister in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, told ThePrint: “I have also become a small worker of the BJP after officially joining the party. There is no question of doubt regarding this. My fellow minister Kamal Patel has gifted this book to me. However, due to the coronavirus crisis, I have not started reading it yet. In future, I will need books related to the ideology of BJP and RSS, and I will take more books from him.”
The book and the man behind it
Kushabhau Thakre is considered a legendary figure in the RSS-BJP family — he played an instrumental role in strengthening their foundations in MP.
One of the BJP’s founding leaders, he spread the RSS’ message far and wide in MP, which brought him respect and great influence.
Born on 15 August 1922 in Dhar, Thakre became an RSS pracharak in 1942, and raised an army of swayamsevaks (volunteers) in the state. Known as an extremely skilled organiser, Thakre also spent 19 months in jail during the Emergency, and was BJP president from 1998 to 2000. He died on 28 December 2003.
The book being distributed among the former Congress leaders is titled ‘Shraddheya’ (one who is respected), the name party cadres used to address Kushabhau Thakre as.
Speaking to ThePrint, its author Siddharth Shankar Gautam said: “BJP leader Bhagwat Sharan Mathur guided me in writing this book, and workers who have never seen Thakre ji can learn everything about his life and works.”
He added, “Through this book, the cadre will get to know the story behind the birth of the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, and the road it took to come to power. It will also inform them about the way Thakre ji crafted the party organisation, and gave the mantra of ‘chareveti-chareveti’ (march along, march along) to the party workers.”
Madhya Pradesh BJP president Vishnu Dutt Sharma said: “Kamal Patel ji has distributed the books because Thakre ji had personally sculpted BJP’s organisational framework in Madhya Pradesh. It will be good for the new leaders if they get to know more about our organisation and ideology.”
‘They sold themselves, have no ideology’
Senior Congress leader and former minister Jitu Patwari hit out at the leaders who switched sides, saying they “sold” themselves to the BJP.
“While it’s true that the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress have their own distinct ideologies, the people who sold themselves to join BJP have no ideology of their own. These people murdered their principles for the sake of money and greed. Can they fully inculcate the culture of any party?” Patwari said.
“Those who cannot fully adopt the tolerant and humane ideology of Congress can never be loyal to any other party or ideology. Sure, the BJP can try and connect them with its own ideology, but this will be a meaningless exercise — if there is any ideology related to money, they’ll talk about it.”