People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 24

June 16, 2013




RSS Accords Modi Its Full Backing


THE BJP National Executive meeting in Goa has made Narendra Modi chairman of the Election Campaign Committee for the Lok Sabha election. By this decision, the BJP has taken the next step towards projecting Modi as its prime ministerial candidate. The reason for this barely camouflaged move being the opposition expressed by its senior leader, L K Advani, and the reservation of the NDA ally, Janata Dal (United), to having Modi as the prime ministerial candidate. 


Narendra Modi epitomises the aggressive Hindutva ideology of the BJP/RSS combine. Gujarat was the laboratory where the Hindutva experiment was first conducted by the Sangh combine from the mid-1980s. The success of this experiment saw the steady communalisation of society and systematic attacks on the Muslim and Christian minorities, which culminated in the 2002 communal pogrom. It was out of this communal project that Narendra Modi rose. Thus the elevation of Modi is also a result of the full backing accorded by the RSS leadership.


While the BJP always functions as the political arm of the RSS, ever since its defeat in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, there has been a churning in the BJP leadership and the steady increase in the grip of the RSS over the party. The second defeat in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections saw the displacement of Advani as the main leader and the intensification of the tussle for the leadership. The appointment of Nitin Gadkari as BJP president illustrated the increased role of the RSS in the organisation. The emphasis was on falling back on the hardcore Hindutva agenda as advocated by the RSS. This trend militated against the objective need to widen the BJP-led alliance to achieve electoral success. The NDA has got reduced over the years with just three parties remaining with the BJP --- JD(U), Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal. It was this electoral imperative of having a broader alliance to achieve the formation of a government that L K Advani utilised to try and block the ascendancy of Narendra Modi. It was argued that Modi being at the helm will only thwart the appeal of the BJP for potential allies. 


The rise of Narendra Modi as the leader for the election battle also symbolises what the BJP stands for today --- an unalloyed communal agenda combined with advocacy of corporate and big business interests. Narendra Modi, as the chief minister of Gujarat, presided over the worst pogrom against Muslims in independent India. Since then, he has become the darling of big business by putting his government at their service. All the major big business houses --- the two Ambani brothers, the Tatas, Birlas, Adani and Essar --- have profited immensely in Gujarat where land and other resources of the state has been placed at their disposal. Modi, thus, represents a mix of virulent Hindutva and big business interests which is the recipe for the rightwing authoritarianism known as the Gujarat model of development. 


L K Advaniís symbolic protest resignation from the leadership positions lasted 24 hours. The RSS chiefís diktat settled the issue.  But it did bring out the conflicts and contradictions into the open.  The progenitor of the Hindutvaís political agenda is at odds with the upstart who seeks to usurp the formerís position. There is the conflict between the RSS and its swayamsewak par excellence that Advani personified till 2005. There is also the contradiction within the NDA --- between the BJP and the JD(U) --- on the question of Modi. If the JD(U) finally quits the NDA, it will become an alliance of three parties which share a common communal outlook --- the BJP, the Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal. 


Despite Advaniís protest, the BJP is set on a course of transition of leadership. In class terms the backing of the big bourgeoisie and in political terms the backing of the RSS will ensure the leadership of Modi. The JD(U) which came out against this prospect will have to decide soon whether it can remain with this new dispensation. For the Left and democratic forces, the task is clear-cut --- apart from fighting the Congress policies, all efforts must be concentrated to defeat the Modi-led BJP in the coming days.