Narendra Modi and Amit Shah
File photo of PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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New Delhi: One out of five BJP MPs associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were appointed as ministers in the Narendra Modi cabinet 2019 but this ratio is 1:14 for party MPs who do not have a Sangh background.

Simply put, parliamentarians with an RSS background had three times better ministerial prospects than the others, a fact that aspiring ministers should bear in mind amid speculation about a possible revamp of Team Modi.

It should come as no surprise, though, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a former RSS pracharak himself. The No.2 in the government, Home Minister and former BJP president Amit Shah, was also associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the RSS’ students wing. It also explains the influence of the Sangh ideology on government policies.

Of the 53 ministers from the BJP in the Modi government, 38 have a Sangh background — 71 per cent of the total. This figure stood at 62 per cent in Modi’s first term when 41 of the 66 BJP ministers who had taken oath in 2014 were from the RSS.

The prime minister has, however, assigned several key portfolios to ministers who don’t have an RSS background, including Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman, Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Power Minister R.K. Singh.

A senior BJP leader played down the connection.

“Having an affiliation with the RSS is not a criterion to become a minister,” the leader said. “The PM and senior leadership take a call on this. To say someone is being promoted merely because they have links with the RSS is not a fair comment.”

The view was echoed by an RSS functionary. “The RSS has no role in deciding tickets for the party or deciding the portfolio. At the same time, RSS only believes in two things — there are those who are already with us and those who are yet to come under the fold,” the functionary said.

“As far as BJP leaders are concerned, Sushma Swaraj had no RSS background but she held important positions and even Jaswant Singh didn’t. So these categorisations are not correct.”


Also read: BJP CMs to join Modi and Shah as star campaigners for Delhi, 5,000 public meetings planned


The Sangh footprint

Despite such protestations, the Sangh’s footprint on the Modi government is evident.

Of the 303 BJP MPs in the Lok Sabha, 146 or 48 per cent have an affiliation to the RSS. In the Rajya Sabha, of its 82 MPs, the BJP has 34 with links to the Sangh.

Such links are increasingly visible in the decision-making of the government as well.

For instance, a separate Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries was created in Modi 2.0, a suggestion that has chiefly emerged from the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP). Besides, the National Education Policy (NEP) also lists numerous suggestions in the draft policy from Sangh-affiliated organisations.

Prior to the Lok Sabha elections last year, after pressure mounted by the RSS and VHP, the BJP government had asked the Supreme Court to expedite the Ayodhya title dispute case.

“The government wants to promote those who have ideological integrity. Compared to the previous Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, which didn’t enjoy a full majority, the Modi dispensation has made it quite clear that it is a government that has no qualms in furthering the Sangh agenda,” said Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a writer and journalist based in Delhi.

“Right from the PM, home minister and defence minister, all have an RSS background. The fact that there are more ministers from RSS background is also because this is the government’s way to integrate the Sangh Parivar in a better way so that there are no divisions,” added Mukhopadhyay who has written the books The RSS — Icons of the Indian Right and Narendra Modi: The Man, The Times.  

Suhas Palshikar, who taught political science at Savitribai Phule Pune University, said the situation at the time of the Vajpayee government was very different because it was a coalition.

“I believe if we compare this with the Vajpayee government the situation might be different probably because it was a coalition government. As far as Modi government is concerned, we see a very specific relationship with the RSS, and their agenda is taken up by the government,” said Palshikar.

“As far as ministers are concerned, one may see those with an RSS background occupying important portfolios too. It is this unique situation between an organisation and a party where it is difficult to say who is controlling whom, but their agendas are definitely complementary and so are their political projects.”


Also read: Ambedkar Navodayas, scholarships — Modi govt eyes education sector for Dalit outreach 


In the cabinet

The most important panel in the Modi cabinet, the cabinet committee on security (CCS), is dominated by the Sangh but does have two non-RSS members — Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. The committee is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also has Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath, all from the Sangh Parivar.

The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA), the second most important ministerial panel, is also dominated by those with RSS backgrounds. The committee consists of Rajnath Singh, Shah, Nitin Gadkari, D.V. Sadanand Gowda, Narendra Singh Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan all of whom have links to the RSS. The only exceptions are, once again, Sitharaman and Jaishankar.

Where the link is really evident is in the RSS’ core interests of education, culture and labour. All of these portfolios are handled by ministers with close ties to the organisation — Ramesh Pokhriyal, Prahlad Singh Patel and Santosh Gangwar respectively.


Also read: Himachal setbacks to Delhi rise — how Modi-Shah favourite JP Nadda became BJP chief


 

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16 Comments Share Your Views

16 COMMENTS

  1. Hinduism per se is not at all bad. Only issue is opiating the religion and using it for different purposes. Real religious person does not subver his / her spiritual ambition to anything else.

  2. Time for India to dismantle the hundreds of hindutva terror outfits such as RSS, BJP, VHP, BD, HMS.. etc. First we need to fix these criminals from hindutva terror outfits. Otherwise, country will be more n more in deep trouble. These criminals have the ideologies driving from godse and sawrakar, who are liar, murderer and rapist. These hindutva criminals have no ability to come to power, unless they brainwash and lie innocent hindus about everything. They have no ability to rule the nation. That’s why country is in so much mess. They are the dividers in chief. They divide and thrive, just like their angrez masters, who they were on their payroll. These criminals hijacked hinduism, just like they hijacked EVMs. Real hindus and real sadhu sants are very peaceful. But these hindutva criminals can go to any limit for power.

  3. It is RSS, not ISIS! Don’t worry. People with RSS background will not harm either the society or the country, notwithstanding the vicious propaganda against RSS and demonisintg it everytime, there is break out of violence. You will find that they are mongst the most dedicated people to their responsihbilities.

    • Dedicated people to their responsibilities”

      Dhoti Hindu terrorist RSS responsibility and dedication is to rid India of non-Hindus, and kill those Hindus who object to their vicious ideology.

      ISIS hides in caves and is being fought by those whom ISIS claims to represent. Whereas Hindu terrorist RSS is roaming freely and being defend by sympathetic supporters, members, such as yourself.

  4. Whatever the ideological background, the quality of governance needs to improve drastically. That applies equally to some of the prominent names the column mentions which are from outside the fold.

  5. RSS is a disciplined patriotic Organization. RSS Training must be made compulsory for all those aspiring to be Elected representatives.

  6. What is the problem even if every minister is from RSS background? Whats the big deal if Cabinet Committee on Security has RSS background majority? Is RSS some sinister, dark organization? Authors should come clear on what is the danger to security of India and to the country, when RSS background ministers are there? Perhaps, India is more secure now than ever before! Once issues are put on the table, one can discuss, argue and decide. Of course, from ThePrint, there is nothing more to expect as per its sicuklar traditions.

    • 71 percent of the ministers in the current Modi government come from the Hindutva extremist group known as the RSS.

      Up from 62 percent in Modi’s first term.

      No surprise that Modi is implementing the RSS agenda.

  7. The Goverment itself is headed by RSS Chieftian .The Goverment of RSS must be made aware of Raj Dharma, as it is becoming despotic and unclear of its agenda for others. A Hindu state is not possible with a secular constitution tailing behind. The US Goverment and its intilligence lists RSS as a Terrorist organisation.Please highlight in detail.Thanks

    • Who cares what the US Government or its intelligence is listing RSS as?
      We are a Sovereign Nation.
      We should adopt what is beneficial for us.
      India is a Hindu Nation.
      Secularism is an unwanted item thrust on our Constitution without proper debate or discussions Hinduism is not about religion.
      It is the way of Life for Indians, our Culture

      • You footpath sleeper may not care who does not know the consequences by US listing of Hindu terrorist org.

        Which Hindu nation, low-caste majority, or upper-caste minority?

        Hindu fanatic who cow mootaar drinker who at the same time supports Hinduism and call India a Hindu nation, and later calls it way of life for Indians.

    • Antti Hindu-radicals, not anti-India. This article is exposing radical Hindus. You radical Hindus should not compare your radicalism with India.

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