Days after the election results, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat is reported to have told its workers the mission of “installing a nationalist government at the Centre” had been achieved and it was time for them to go back to their respective fields of activity. Bhagwat had earlier also exhorted workers that the Sangh had bigger ideals and achieving power was not its aim.
However, the Sangh chief’s call seemed to have failed to drive the message home. Though the Sangh has been trying to keep a distance from politics, large-scale deployment of the Sangh machinery in the electoral politics has spurred the political aspirations of many of its workers and pracharaks. Sources say even some senior pracharaks are in the race to bag top positions in the government.
Sources say one of the senior-most Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, who is coordinating between the Sangh and the government has received more than 5,000 bio-datas from individuals associated with the RSS and affiliated organisations, seeking political postings. Other senior Sangh functionaries, too, are flooded with requests from workers and people from all walks of life. They are at sea on how to deal with the avalanche of bio-data.
While most applicants seek positions in the personal staff of ministers, some want to be inducted into one committee of the government or other, so that they can flaunt a visiting card with a Government of India emblem.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed ministers not to appoint any relatives on their personal staff. He has also told them candidates should be appointed after sufficient scrutiny. Such measures have been taken to keep away “traditional power seekers”, who are always close to power centres irrespective of which party is in power. The Sangh wants these posts to be given to “committed workers and the deserving” as “reward” for their hard work.
According to sources, the prime minister has told the Sangh all political appointments would be made only after the government completes 100 days in the first week of September. The Sangh or other Parivar organisations will neither review the work of the government nor criticise it before this.
Unlike during the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, when many leveraged their clout with the RSS to curry favours from ministers, this time it has been decided only a few designated leaders would talk to the government.
“Modi is very clear that only deserving and suitable people would be appointed in the government positions. Just because somebody may have worked for the party or knows some higher-ups in the organisation, doesn’t mean he will be given a government appointment. The government is departing from the usual way of functioning and he won’t allow the government to become a source money-making for some people,” said a BJP office-bearer, who didn’t want to be named.
Modi is best known for having dismantled political intermediaries in Gujarat who offered their services for a price to persons, especially businessmen, who might have had dealings with the government. Initially this touched a sore spot in the state but, later, the RSS conceded this had brought its own rewards.