Is RSS' concern for north Indians genuine or motivated by impending Bihar elections?

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Ajay Singh | February 1, 2010



The BJP must be on the tenterhooks with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's verbal volley of the rights of the non-Marathis in Mumbai. Though the statement generates hope (primarily for north Indians) at first glance, it also underlines the RSS' greater desire to dabble into politics. He being a chitpawan brahmin from Nagpur, Bhagwat's statement has wider ramifications. In fact, Bhagwat knows it too well that the RSS has its severe limitations in the context of Maharashtra. The organisation could never wriggle out of its brahmanical image which is the precise reason for its unacceptability in the non-brahmin communities, particularly among the dominant Marathas. Though founded in Nagpur, the RSS's influence is limited in the orange city as well. The BJP will lose substantial political ground in the state if it merges its identity with the RSS. This explains the BJP's “studied silence”.

But can we take the RSS stance as vindication of its nationalist character? No, not at all. On the contrary, the RSS was conspicuously silent when the BJP included preference for Marathi Manoos in its manifesto during the recent Maharashtra elections. The RSS never spoke against the vandalism of the Sena and Raj Thackeray's goons when they attacked north Indians in Mumbai and Pune. It is more than a coincidence that the RSS chief found sympathies with the north Indians when the Bihar election is looming large. In fact, it seems more of a shrewd political move to strike the right cord with Bihar's electorate when the elections are round the corner.

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