RSS Will Be Less Involved in 2019 Election Than 2014: W Andersen
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
“The image of the RSS as a monolith is wrong.”
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), often referred to as the ideological arm of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), will not be as heavily invested in the ruling party’s political campaign in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as compared to their contribution in 2014, according to Walter K Andersen.
Professor of South Asia Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Andersen who recently launched his new book RSS: A View to the Inside co-authored by Shridhar D Damle, in an exclusive interview with The Quint’s Sanjay Pugalia, talks about the RSS’ relation with the BJP, the growth of its affiliates, and how the organisation has historically distanced itself from politics.
On RSS and BJP’s Relation
Citing historical examples, the American academic says that the RSS has historically been an organisation which maintained some distance from politics and made sure that they don’t get sucked into the BJP’s ambitions.
Citing his interaction with an RSS insider recently, Andersen said he was told, "We are not a party, we don't want to be a party."
“Even in 2014, on several occasions their head made it clear to the RSS workers working for the BJP that they are first members of the Sangh.”
RSS’ Role in 2019
The political scientist said that the Sangh ‘went all out’ in helping the BJP in 1977 and 2014 elections, but that kind of intensity will not be seen in the upcoming Lok Sabha election ‘unless something drastic happens’.
He further states that the RSS looks at policies with a bottom-up approach, but government and political parties always think top-down.
The Modi-Bhagwat Duo?
When asked about the relationship between PM Narendra Modi and the RSS chief, Andersen said that Mohan Bhagwat has a diplomatic approach which helps them both understand each other’s position.