RSS challenge: Will PM Modi's story go Vajpayee's way?

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RSS challenge for PM Modi
Is Prime Minister Narendra Modi facing what the first BJP prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had during his stay in the office? According to reports, PM Modi tried to speed ahead with economic reforms but his government is facing two major obstacles. One, the NDA's numerical weakness in the Rajya Sabha and secondly, the resistance caused by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The second factor is a concern for the saffron camp for if the RSS begins posing problem to the BJP in carrying out its mission to undo the legacy of the previous UPA regime, then Modi and his lieutenants could be in a serious trouble.

That the RSS is using its influence to create obstacles in the BJP government's way is also suggested by the fact that many of BJP-ruled states have been speaking against reform measures. One of Modi's close men Arun Jaitley have already expressed dissatisfaction over BJP-ruled states opposing the Goods and Service Tax even in the era of Modi as the prime minister.

Vajpayee & Sudarshan had serious difference
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Will the Modi-RSS story will go that of Vajpayee-Sudarshan way? The former prime minister had a serious clash with the late RSS chief, KS Sudarshan, over the debate between indigenous and foreign, which was essentially a conflict between realism and idealism. While Vajpayee succeeded in secluding Sudarshan during his stay in office, the latter did not forget to lambast the top leadership of the party after Vajpayee lost power in 2004.

Is history set to repeat itself?

RSS has reasserted its Swadeshi thinking in the Modi era

In a programme held a few days ago, RSS leaders said in the presence of the current chief Mohan Bhagwat that even Modi has certain compulsions as the prime minister which he did not as an RSS activist, there is still a scope to follow a Swadeshi economic policy. The result is clear: While the prime minister is aiming to draw foreign capital for the sake of the country's economy, the RSS is in no mood to give much space to the former. May be the fact that Modi has a huge mandate in his favour is still stopping the RSS from getting vocal in the public over the contentious issues at this very moment.

But the game is definitely on.

Two senior RSS leaders have joined the BJP

The RSS has tried to cement its influence on the BJP through two of its senior members Ram Madhav and Shiv Prakash who recently joined the BJP. The RSS is even pressurising the BJP to allow Madhav to look after the coordination between the government and the organisation. This is certainly not a good sign for Prime Minister Modi despite the fact that his close aide Amit Shah was made the chief of the BJP.

RSS can do the BJP what the Gandhis had done to the Congress

Modi will have the task cut out in managing the internal power struggle which is gradually growing within the ranks of the NDA government at the Centre. The BJP will be in a danger of undergoing Congressification if its top leadership doesn't separate the government from the right-wing organisation. The RSS will be all the more eager to assert its authority for it might think that the BJP of the post-Vajpayee and Advani era is a weaker lot and that the BJP has a majority government at the Centre to carry out the long-cherished goal of a Hindu India.

It is impossible to blend modern-day governance with RSS's rigid ideology

The Congress lost the plot during his 10-year rule because the Gandhis always overwhelmed the prime ministership of Manmohan Singh. The government always struggled to find a way out because the party leadership never allowed it to take control. The NDA might also witness a similar story unfolding. Can Prime Minister Modi take on the bull by its horns?

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