RSS & BJP Cadres Alienated: Is It The End Of The Modi-Shah Era?

RSS & BJP Cadres Alienated: Is It The End Of The Modi-Shah Era?

Will the RSS seek support from the INDIA alliance? Or is the RSS somehow working internally to stop the Modi juggernaut at the 272 mark where Modi will become irrelevant?

Neelu VyasUpdated: Thursday, May 09, 2024, 09:09 PM IST
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With the conclusion of the three phases of the Lok Sabha elections, the fate of 284 seats is locked and half the election process of 2024 has been wrapped up. The most curious question is who has the edge in terms of the narrative, issues, acceptability and credibility. Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi's overarching figure and persona, why does “Modi’s guarantee” seem to be fading on the ground or, in other words, does it look timid when juxtaposed with the heartening and favourable Congress guarantee? Well, the jury could be out on that! But has the Bharatiya Janata Party made blunders or is it a colossal anti-incumbency staring at the ten-year rule of the BJP? It could be a combination of all this, and what supplements this deficiency is the absence and withdrawal of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh cadres from the ground. Make no mistake about the fact that there has been an overexposure of PM Modi; he has put too much at stake around himself, not to mention brewing a sense of insecurity within the peers in his party and at the same time alienating the RSS which is deemed to be the umbilical cord. As a result of this, a large section of BJP leaders who earlier were scared of speaking off the record have started Chinese whispers on the internal churnings within the party.

Naresh Sirohi, the farmer leader associated with BJP for last 28 years, and someone who has worked very closely with Arun Jaitley, says that “there is no BJP in 2024”, this election is all about Modi and because of this the local BJP leaders and even the cadres on the ground are disillusioned, they feel disconnected from the central leadership of Modi and Shah. Sirohi is one among the many who gathered the nerve and the dare to speak on record but there are many local BJP leaders who have chosen not to step out of their homes, and which is why panna pramukhs have failed, voters have not turned up in huge numbers and the dismal voter turnout tells the entire story. A few BJP leaders are disgruntled over the way the tickets were distributed without any consultation, while some have started feeling the heat of the excesses of the Modi government — be it the witch-hunt of Opposition leaders or dubious methods of getting nominations withdrawn, examples being Surat, Indore and Khajuraho. On condition of anonymity a BJP leader shared “Ab toh bahut ho gaya hai, Modi ji kuchh zyada hi tez bhag rahe hain” (now it's too much, Modi is racing at breakneck speed). So if BJP cadres have withdrawn from many parts of the country, is the party now left only with leaders Narendra Modi and Amit Shah? This seems to be the emerging picture as of now. Senior leaders like Vasundhra Raje, Shivraj Chauhan, Nitin Gadkari have already been sidelined by Modi and they have by and large restricted themselves to their own strongholds — which doesn’t serve the larger interests of the party. So is BJP trying to isolate Modi and Shah? Well, it could be a matter of time.

As far as the RSS is concerned, after the first phase of the election was over PM Modi made a brief stopover at Nagpur to seek more help from the RSS cadres on the ground, but to no avail. The reason being that the RSS is not an individualistic party and it by no means appreciates the dominance of the Modi cult. It doesn’t tolerate an individual growing beyond the organisation. The RSS feels dwarfed by the Modi persona. Some RSS leaders who spoke off the record even said, “We thought that the country will be given a slow injection of Hindutva but the speed at which things are being run by Modi will break the social fabric of the country, and we never want that to happen.” He even went on to say that RSS cadres feel alienated and sidelined to the extent of feeling shortchanged by the BJP, and hence the RSS will not support Modi and Shah in 2024.

So if this is the state of affairs at the end of the three phases, one can imagine the kind of structural changes the BJP is headed for. Will the RSS seek support from the INDIA alliance? Or is the RSS somehow working internally to stop the Modi juggernaut at the 272 mark where Modi will become irrelevant? For concrete answers, we have to wait for another four phases to conclude.

Neelu Vyas is a senior television anchor and digital content creator. Twitter: @neeluopines

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