The latest salvo fired by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders to possibly invite Congress president Rahul Gandhi among others to the RSS event in New Delhi in September points to the fact that the ideological parents of the Sangh Parivar, including that of the ruling party or the BJP, want only lovey-dovey talks. And this is going to take place at the cost of real issues dogging the people.
The show is indeed billed in the cool comforts of Delhi’s plush Vigyan Bhavan at a time when floods are in full fury through quite a few parts of South while threatening others in the North. Hardly bothered about people’s plight, the father figures of the Parivar have their eyes fixed on another stint in power for the BJP. And, thus, they have ostensibly got provoked by one of the remarks made by Rahul during his jaunt in London putting the RSS on virtually the same pedestal as Muslim Brotherhood has been in case of mainly Egypt and generally its nearby West Asian countries.
This is so despite the fact that yesteryears BJP’s leading voice LK Advani had in one of his visits to London amid the heat of Ayodhya’s Mandir movement told the BBC bosses that he did not mind the Parivar or his party being called as India’s Hindu militant organisations. Thus, taking umbrage to Rahul’s remarks today can only be driven by the desire to refurbish an image that the BJP and Parivar had once vied to build. Such are the contradictions that the party’s journey to power has brought. And as the next stop through this is going to be another general election in a few months time from now the party is obviously looking at new ploys and possibly a new image.
Only about a couple of months ago the world had witnessed the visit of former President Pranab Mukherjee to Nagpur headquarters of the RSS. The several-hour-long show at the Sangh citadel turned out to be only mawkish and pedantic. Thus, to expect anything other than this from its September event in Delhi will only be a tall order for the participants as also the observers. And without prejudging it can easily be said that by inviting other parties’ leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, the Sangh aims at monopolising politics cutting across party lines. It is trying to be the moral guardian of a politics that has put its offspring in power on the one hand and creating a defence mechanism for the Government of the day on the other by inviting leaders from rival parties.
It is not for the first time that the Congress president is possibly going to get an invitation from the RSS. In 2007, Sonia Gandhi was invited by the Sangh to take part in a commemoration function held in February that year in honour of the second RSS Sarsanghchalak the late MS Golwalkar. She had stayed away from the event as may well be the case with Rahul Gandhi this time. It can well be so since the Sangh has been seeking to improve its moral position by inviting some of the top guns of the country. Wipro chairman Azim Premji and Ratan Tata of Tata group of companies have already been to RSS events besides Pranab Mukherjee.
Yet, the invitation that the RSS is flaunting now for Rahul Gandhi has too obvious political overtones to be missed. In fact, the invite has been moved virtually through media and it is actually yet to be delivered to the Congress chief. Its immediate purpose is to forestall the spree of criticism of the RSS by Rahul. The RSS through its much-touted invitation has also tried to answer the Muslim Brotherhood remark made by Rahul Gandhi. Both the RSS and BJP spokesmen tried to make a case at their separate interaction with the Press about Rahul’s lack of knowledge about Indianness. So the intended or feigned invite is meant to convey to the public a visibly polite response by the RSS to what it thinks otherwise to be quite a harsh and blatant comparison of the RSS with Muslim Brotherhood.
The Parivar has somehow been successful in its moves. This is more so since by announcing its possible decision to invite Rahul Gandhi to its public and possibly televised show the RSS has taken a soft position on what could have been a serious issue. When the charge is that the RSS approach can be as violent as has been that of the Muslim Brotherhood, the RSS is apparently taking the route of deliberations. It is aimed at posing a moral question to Rahul Gandhi who was seen hugging Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the last month’s debate on the no-confidence motion against the Government in Parliament. In case Rahul turns down the invitation questions may arise about the Congress chief’s earlier show of warm embrace on the floor of the House.
Yet, whatever may be the case or turn that the moves by the RSS, BJP and the Congress may take the question is going to be whether Rahul was as off the mark as the Parivar has tried to look it like and may continue to do so through its September event in Delhi. The answer to this may not be very straight or precise. But the parallel drawn by Rahul between the RSS and Muslim Brotherhood take the attention to the assassination of the former Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmud Fahmi al-Nuqrashi by a Muslim Brotherhood supporter in 1948. And it was also the year when Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead by a zealot whose ideological leanings are well known not only back home but also the world over.