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Arrogance of politicians, Manipur, and more: Here’s what RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said about 2024 Lok Sabha election and results

RSS is the foundation of the BJP; while they have taken on ideological and political roles, the two are inextricably linked.

Narendra Modi has become the Prime Minister of India for the third time. The BJP-led NDA has formed the government in Centre with a clear majority. The 2024 Lok Sabha election, however, resulted in a significant drop in the BJP-NDA’s seats with BJP missing the majority 272 mark. On the other hand, the Congress party, though failed to get three-digit seats on its own, has increased its seats from 52 to 99. The opposition’s I.N.D.I. bloc defied all exit poll predictions to bag 233 seats. In his first remark on the election outcomes, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat shared his words of wisdom for the new government and the opposition. He addressed a wide range of issues from Manipur to what makes a “true Sevak” alongside deeming the 2024 electoral campaign as “devoid of standards”.

“The outside atmosphere is different after the Lok Sabha elections are over; the new government has also taken shape. Why it has happened, does not concern the Sangh. The Sangh works for refining public opinion in every election, did it this time also but does not get entangled in the analysis of the outcome,” Bhagwat said during his speech at the Karyakarta Vikas Varg programme in Nagpur on 10th June.

Mohan Bhagwat emphasises the importance of building consensus

Addressing an audience of RSS leaders and workers in Nagpur on the day the new BJP-led coalition convened its first Cabinet meeting, Bhagwat emphasised the necessity of creating consensus. “Election is a process of building consensus. Parliament has two sides so that both aspects of any question can be considered…every issue has two sides. If one side is addressed by one party, the Opposition party should address the other dimension, so that we reach the right decision,” Bhagwat said.

RSS chief highlights the qualities of a “true sevak”

Delving into what makes a true “sevak”, the RSS chief quoted a Doha composed by poet Kabir and said, “Nirbandha Bandha Rahe, Bandha nirbandha hoye..Karm kare karta nahi..das kahaye soye…A true sevak maintains decorum while working… The one who maintains decorum does his work, but remains unattached. There is no arrogance that I did this. Only such a person has the right to be called a sevak.”

Emphasising the significance of upholding the “maryada” [decorum], Bhagwat said that elections are a democratic process where the opponents do everything possible to keep themselves ahead of each other, however, even in doing so, decorum should be maintained. He said elections should be seen as a competition and not war.

Speaking about the opposition, Bhagwat said, “I do not call it Virodhi Paksh, I call it Pratipaksh. The Opposition is not an opponent. It is revealing a side of the issues and that must be deliberated upon. If we understand that this is how we must operate, then we must be cognizant of the decorum required in contesting elections. That decorum was not maintained (in the elections).”

The RSS chief further asserted although there can never be 100% alignment of thoughts and ideas, the political leaders across party lines should walk together to build consensus. “Rigveda rishis understood the human mind and accepted that complete unanimity is unattainable. However, when society decides to work with consensus, it achieves Sah-Chitta,” he said.

“Our parliament has two sides so that both sides can be heard. Every coin has two sides. If one side brings an idea, then the other side has to reveal the other perspective. We need to free ourselves of the rhetorical excesses of the elections and think about the future,” Bhagwat added.

Mohan Bhagwat slams political parties for divisive poll campaigns

“The way in which events have unfolded, with each side engaging in below-the-belt attacks, ignoring the divisive impact of campaign strategies, and increasing social and mental fault lines, is concerning. The way no one cared about social divisions being created because of what was being done…RSS was unnecessarily dragged into this. Using technology, absolute falsehoods were spread. Does technology equate to knowledge?” We must move beyond the excitement of elections and focus on the country’s challenge,” the RSS chief said.

It is pertinent to mention here that artificial intelligence was misused by various political parties to peddle fake narratives. Deep fake videos were created to spread fake news and hateful propaganda. A deep fake video of Union Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah was also circulated on social media by Congress workers. As a case was registered by Delhi Police, several members of Congress’s social media team were arrested for creating and circulating the fake video. The deep fake video falsely depicting Union Home Minister Amit Shah saying they would end reservations for SC-ST and OBCs was shared by the Telangana Congress’ social media handles.

“Manipur is burning”: RSS chief raises concern over tense situation in Manipur

In response to the ethnic violence in Manipur, Mohan Bhagwat stated that the state has long been waiting for peace, even though it has been peaceful for the past decade.

“Everywhere there is social disharmony. This is not good. For the past year, Manipur has been awaiting peace. It was peaceful for the past one decade. It appeared that the gun culture of yore was gone. But the gun culture that took shape suddenly, or was created, Manipur is still burning. Who is going to pay attention to it? It is a duty to deal with it on priority,” he said.

Notably, the BJP lost the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections in Manipur and the Congress won both seats in the BJP-ruled state.

Mohan Bhagwat lauds the Modi government for its work in the last ten years, and adds NDA is not free from challenges

The RSS chief praised the Modi government for its efforts in leading the country on the path of development and progress especially in the arena of economic growth and defence etc. “The same government, the National Democratic Alliance [NDA], has returned to power. Numerous positive developments have occurred over the past ten years. We have made progress in in last 10 years in various fields such as the economy, defence strategy, sports, culture, and technology. However, this does not imply that we are now free of challenges,” Bhagwat said.

Anti-Modi ecosystem uses Mohan Bhagwat’s speech to attack PM Modi and BJP

The RSS chief’s comments on the Manipur issue have given the opposition and its ‘ecosystem’ ammunition to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On 11th June, Rajya Sabha MP and former Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that it is not in the DNA of PM Modi to listen to the opposition’s advice but he should at least listen to the RSS chief. He further claimed that the BJP created an “us vs them” environment during the election campaign.

“We raised concern about Manipur, Bhagwat ji has also said it now. You don’t listen to us because you are not used to listening to us but listen to him. It is not in your DNA to listen to us. Manipur should be given priority. I had asked for removal of CM N Biren Singh, but you could not remove the former wrestling body chief, what will you do about the CM,” Sibal said.

“I have been saying this for months, with statements, an environment of ‘us versus them’ is being created. We need to take the country forward. I welcome the statement of Mohan Bhagwat…” Sibal added.

Meanwhile, journalist Tavleen Singh claimed that the RSS chief in his speech analysed the reasons behind the BJP’s failure to win a full majority. She insinuated that somehow Bhagwat warned the BJP against arrogance and treating the opposition as enemies.

“The RSS chief has analysed perfectly why Modi failed to win the BJP a full majority. He has warned against arrogance and against treating elections like war and opponents like enemies. Well said Mohan Bhagwat,” Singh posted.

Several other anti-Modi elements presented Bhagwat’s speech as advice, rebuke, and a ‘strong’ message for Narendra Modi and the BJP.

Opposition and critics hail Bhagwat’s speech

RSS is the ideological foundation of BJP, no matter what politicians claim

The opposition, its media allies and the extended ecosystem are using Mohan Bhagwat’s speech to fuel a dispute between the BJP and RSS in addition to establishing a narrative that the RSS is upset with the BJP leadership, especially PM Modi. However, the BJP needs serious introspection into what all went wrong in the general elections. While the RSS chief talked about the arrogance displayed by politicians during these elections, he did not name any political leader either from the BJP-NDA or from the I.N.D.I. bloc. Despite this, political leaders, especially those belonging to the BJP can learn a lot from the RSS chief’s speech.

As Bhagwat talked about how a true “sevak” is free from arrogance and upholds the “Maryada”, the BJP candidates who displayed arrogance and did not even try to connect with the people in their constituency and solely relied on PM Modi’s charisma need to stop taking the voters for granted, and instead of being lazy and complacent should become approachable and work for their people.

It is pertinent to recall the BJP president, JP Nadda’s statement last month that the party has become strong enough and does not need the support of RSS in election campaigns. “Initially, we would have been less capable, smaller and needed the RSS. Today, we have grown and we are capable. The BJP runs itself,” Nadda said adding that RSS is the “ideological front”. Although it is a fact that the BJP alone won more seats than the entire opposition alliance could, the party suffered a significant reduction in seats. This, was shocking and embarrassing for the BJP since it fought the election with the “Abki baar 400 paar” ambition.

As the RSS chief stressed, the Modi government in its third term should deal with the Manipur issue more effectively and restore peace in the state. Moreover, the BJP leaders should refrain from making controversial and self-harming statements especially when speaking about the constitution and reservations. It was seen how the opposition used the comments of BJP’s Anant Hegde and Lallu Singh about ‘changing’ the constitution for fear-mongering that the BJP with end reservations.

It is worth noting that many RSS members who had previously participated in ground-level awareness campaigns and even actively tried to encourage citizens to vote remained inactive this time. There were also reports of RSS cadres being neglected by some senior party leaders. RSS is the foundation of the BJP; while they have taken on ideological and political roles, the two are inextricably linked. The BJP’s high command should avoid ignoring RSS, and the Sangh should not abandon the BJP, particularly during elections.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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