The trio of Modi, Shah and Jaitley will take a long time to win back Swadeshi and die-hard Hindutva friends.
Is Narendra Modi made of material tough enough not to care about the mass organisations affiliated to the Sangh Parivar? He has, afterall, moved ahead with the GST without even a cogent response to criticism from within the saffron fold.
In a report in the Indian Express, Ashutosh Bharadwaj, one of the newspaper's more brilliant journalists, has recalled how even the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime had witnessed explicit and public opposition from RSS-affliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh. The then BMS leader, Dattopant Thengadi, had actually took out a large rally in Delhi "challenging the authority of the then PM," forcing him to shelve the planned labour reforms.
Modi, in fact, has dared to almost browbeat the RSS which was made to sack its Goa head, Subhash Velingkar, after the latter criticised the BJP's functioning last year.
But Swadeshi Jagran Manch is not just a wayward kid that can be disciplined. Some of its leaders have spent a lifetime in pursuing their agenda.
The sharpest opposition to Modi's "Make in India" has come not from the Congress but from the SJM.
It was not Rahul Gandhi but SJM that slammed Modi for featuring in PayTM advertisements and raised questions as to why the Centre was batting for this e-wallet portal.
When Modi decided to scrap the Planning Commission, a lethargic institution from the Nehruvian years, most RSS affiliates were happy, but they aren't ecstatic about Modi's NITI Aayog either.
The SJM leaders have accused the Niti Aayog of running a 'corporate agenda.'
Modi's claims are danger of falling flat in the face of criticism from within the RSS ranks with the SJM national council saying that the jobs are "growing only at 1%, a dismal state of affairs”.
On FDI, too, it reminded that half of it is coming through shady routes like Mauritius and Singapore, notorious for round tripping of black money. With Modi projecting himself as the champion fighter to bring back black money into the country, this was not the route that even Nagpur had envisaged.
Some allegations hurt more than others, and this one has raised the ire of many in the PM's coterie, often described by rank dissenters like Arun Shourie as Three Men in a Boat – PM, Shah, Jaitley.
Earlier this year, the SJM made its opposition to Niti Aayog public and a matter of record. The SJM co-convener Ashwani Mahajan, reminds the newspaper report, wrote to Modi blaming the health ministry and Niti Aayog for colluding with pharmaceutical companies to sabotage the drug price control regime.
"Your departments are acting against what you have promised the people of India,” he wrote. These were strong words, not expected from even a stray sympathiser. This was SJM, respected in Sangh circles as people who have the interests of indegnous India in mind.
Here are more instances of tiger's cubs biting the rider:
RSS-backed Bharatiya Kisan Sangh:
It is opposing the Vasundhra Raje government and siding with the protesting farmers. It also blasted the Centre on demonetisation, which it claimed hurt the farmers. The BKS also singled out Jaitley for his statement that the Centre will not co ntribute towards farm loan waivers by any state.
Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh:
It vociferously opposed demonetisation, said this was no economic reform, and will only increase poverty, hurt common people. It called Niti Aayog a bunch of ignoramuses with not one member cued into people's problems. The Niti Aayog, it said, is the Special Body of the PM. BMS actually issued a 14-point statement against the Niti Aayog in May this year. Its synergy and congruence of views with all other trade unions was noted in the PMO with concern.
NITI Aayog's push for sweeping changes in labour laws and for privatisation of the public sector came in for some sharp attack from CK Saji Narayanan, BMS leader, who said labour laws and policies in the country should be guided by a tripartite mechanism, not NITI Aayog.
The BMS was backed by all trade unions, such as AITUC, CITU, HMS and others in this tirade against the Modi government.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad:
The most shrill among the Sangh's children, the VHP has criticised the Modi regime for going back on the Hindutva agenda. It continues to rile Modi on delay in building a Ram temple, and is taking special pleasure in reports from Ayodhya that truckloads of stones are being transported to the proposed temple site, a move likely to draw much national attention and create problems for Modi.
So much so, that the VHP is now accusing Modi of something that even the Congress had not raised: Snooping. VHP leader Pravin Togadia has said his organisation was facing the kind of onslaught that was launched by Sanjay Gandhi during Emergency.
"We were saddened and shocked to hear and see the Central IB officers questioning VHP, India Health Line & Hindu Help Line volunteers at various places,” Togadia said recently, and asked the Modi regime to apologise.
At a time when Modi and coterie will be too keen to stem the lynching spree, something that has been giving the rule of law in India a very bad name in the world community and negating all efforts of the Prime Minister to raise India's profile with big time international jamborees from the US to Israel, men like Togadia may offer little help.
He has expressed "utmost dissatisfaction and agony” at the PM's statement that 80 per cent gau rakshaks are anti-social.
Clearly, while the Modi-Shah-Jaitley team will have to control some of the Sangh affiliates running amok and badgering the BJP government, one is not sure if even the RSS has the power to pull the cubs back.
As they say in Hindutva times in NASA terminology: Nagpur, We Have A Problem!
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