The RSS may be a little worried after several indicators from by-polls to social media feedback have pointed to ‘decline in popularity’ of the Modi Government. Since, it is propaganda that got it so far as to control the Government of a powerful nation as India, it is natural that it would continue to rely on propaganda to retain its grip over the levers of power.
There are those who say that the idea of getting Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee to speak at an RSS ‘graduation ceremony’ was intended to counter Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who has in the last two-three years tried to highlight the links Mahatma Gandhi’s assassins had with the RSS. Its attempt to reach a compromise in a defamation suit against Rahul Gandhi has not borne fruit and the organisation does not seem keen on having historical records re-examined in a court of law.
The Mahatma’s assassination is one subject the ‘nationalist volunteers’ are uncomfortable with. Over the years, it has tried to convince the public that Nathuram Godse and others had severed links with the RSS while not highlighting the fact that its ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was acquitted in the trial on technical grounds.
The RSS was not expecting Mukherjee to endorse its ‘ideology’. Mukherjee, on the other hand, was hoping to play statesman and show the spectrum of his reach while making a political correct speech. However, the veteran of many political intrigues seems to have miscalculated. That was made clear by none other than his daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee.
Replying to insinuations that she would join the BJP soon, Mukherjee junior said that she would rather leave politics than leave Congress. Also she had a piece of advice for her father: You have played into the hands of the BJP-RSS. Your speech would be forgotten soon, but the lasting images of sharing the dais with the RSS would linger.
Diehard fans of the former President in the media may see a ‘plot’ in Mukherjee junior’s tweet. They could say that this was her father’s way of controlling damage once he realised that the visit to the RSS headquarters would boomerang. Others may say that the daughter had to ensure for herself a bright future in the Congress.
Whatever that be, there cannot be two versions that the RSS venture has boomeranged for both Mukherjee and itself. More and more youth who have been brought up on the staple of the ‘friendly neighbourhood pracharak’ that the RSS is a nationalist organisation that exists to just serve the public and had no political affiliations or preferences may want to know more about the organisation and its leanings with news channels going overboard with a retired President’s speech.
Meanwhile, a retired spokesperson of the RSS has come out of the woodwork to clarify to a national newspaper that the RSS was not the BJP. Well why should anyone mistake the parent for the child, even if some journalist may confuse between M G Vaidya and Manmohan Vaidya?
Hum Aapke Hain Kaun?
What can Madhuri Dikshit do to ensure BJP wins the elections in 2019? I don’t think any politician or an expert in political punditry have a positive answer to that question. It’s a puzzle to why BJP President Amit Shah recently met the America-returned tinsel-town heroine as part of his party’s plan to reach out to 1 lakh famous personalities.
The BJP needs to look at non-conventional methods to retain popularity, with general elections less than a year away. However, one wonders what went into preparing the personality list for Shah to meet. Till now, he has met former General Dalbir Singh Suhag, cricketer Kapil Dev and playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, apart from Dikshit.
Celebrities are known to accept party tickets to contest elections when they are quite certain of winning but most of them have not bothered to even campaign for their parties widely, except making a couple of appearances. Very few of them have stayed on and made it big. Most of them don’t even care to nurture their constituencies and leave the field at the first sign of defeat.
So, should not Shah be meeting opinion makers and social leaders if the attempt is to win over sections that are not favourably inclined to BJP? Or is this some kind of autograph-hunting personal mission? After all, if M F Husain can watch a movie that critics described as something similar to a wedding video 85 times, why should not Shah meet Dikshit in person?
While Madhuri Dikshit may be left flattered to know about a VIP fan, two decades after her prime in Hindi cinema, a retired major general in the national capital is not at all amused.
Two weeks ago, he received a message from the BJP office that Amit Shah wanted to meet him. The retired officer was naturally flattered. He began earnestly making preparations for a sumptuous meal, although Shah given his diabetes has been advised to keep his calories down.
Meanwhile, in another bungalow, General Dalbir Singh Suhag was bemused to learn from the ticker tape on a news channel that Shah was planning to visit him. He called up the channel to alert it that this was ‘fake news’. The channel said it was certain about the authenticity of the news as it had obtained it from the BJP headquarters.
The General then called up the BJP office to enquire what kind of a prank it was playing on him. “Sir, we had already contacted you last week and you had agreed to host our President,” came the reply. “Nobody has contacted me,” retorted the General.
The BJP office got back to him after cross-checking: “Sir, it was an error. We contacted the wrong person. Would you still like to host our President?” Who would want to say no to Shah?
The General met the BJP President shortly, but in another household not far away, a retired officer lunched alone. All his preparations turned out to be a waste. The BJP did not send even an emissary to take the party President’s place after its goof-up. Suhag realised the difference between a General and ‘Major General’ mattered even after retirement, even if he happens to share the same name.
The RSS has come out with a coffee-table book which has its brief history and several pictures of its leaders and cadre. The production cost should be at least Rs 1,500 per book. It is to be gifted to bureaucrats and others to help them ‘know the RSS’. Surprisingly, it has been printed in Macaulay’s language, not Sanskrit.
( firstname.lastname@example.org)(Published on 11th June 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 24)