Last year, Mohan Bhagwat, head of the RSS, had said the RSS did not want a “Congress-
”. The Hindu reported it as follows: “These [phrases like Congress-
The RSS has also said it does not believe in personality cults in politics. The Hindu had reported: “‘Nation-building cannot be the work of one man. It has to be inclusive, requiring the contributions of both the ruling and the Opposition parties,’ said the RSS Sarsanghchalak, speaking at a book launch in Pune’s Balgandharva Rangmandir.”
Then last month there was Walter Andersen, who, along with Shridhar Damle, has written a new and quite sympathetic book on the RSS. He gave an interview to Sanjay Pugalia of The Quint.
What the website displayed was the “RSS will not be as heavily invested in the 2019 elections as compared to their contribution in 2014”. The interview confirms this paraphrasing.
Even Subramanian Swamy, who says he is an ardent supporter of the prime minister, has been taking proxy pot shots at him, mostly by targeting Arun Jaitley, finance minister, and Hasmukh Adhia, finance secretary.
At the ground level, too, there is resentment from workers and local leaders, who have perhaps not got whatever they may have wanted. Their enthusiasm does not equal the more articulate supporters of the party.
The list could grow because we must not ignore what Mr Andersen calls the RSS’s “affiliates”, namely, the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and so on. They also matter as do old friends like the Shiv Sena.
Mr Bhagwat, Mr Gadkari, Mr Sinha, Mr Shourie, Mr Swamy, Rafale, Mr Ambani (Anil Ambani), Mr Akbar, the Bajrang Dal, the VHP, the Shiv Sena … what will it all add up to? It is hard to say because Mr Modi is a past master at pulling rabbits out of the hat.
But while that is not in dispute, the size of the rabbit certainly is: Will it be big or small? Indeed, even a large rabbit may not be enough because his government has annoyed the biggest voter group, the farmers. Nor has it endeared itself to that vast mass of voters who are looking for jobs.
At the other end, potential employers, far from expanding employment, are reducing it. This is true of both the private and the public sectors.
A skilful leader in one of the opposition parties would by now have started to create what they call a “hawa” or wave. But that has not happened, and it might be too late now for one to have much effect.
That leaves the opposition with just one option. It should put up just one candidate, the one who has the best chance of winning in each of the 450-odd constituencies where the BJP will contest.