Poll results 'reality check' for overconfident BJP workers: RSS-linked magazine

04:13 PM Jun 11, 2024 | PTI |

The Lok Sabha poll results have come as a reality check for “overconfident” BJP workers and many of its leaders as they were happy in their “bubble” and enjoying the glow of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aura but not listening to the voices on the streets, an RSS-linked magazine has said.
An article in the latest issue of “Organiser” magazine also noted that though the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is not a “field force” of the BJP, the party leaders and workers did not reach out to its ‘swayamsevaks’ (volunteers) seeking their cooperation in electoral work.
Neglect of older dedicated workers who worked without the urge for recognition by the new age social media-aided selfie powered activists was also evident in the poll results, it said.
“Results of 2024 general elections have come as a reality check for overconfident BJP karyakartas and many leaders. They did not realise that Prime Minister Narendra Modiji’s call of 400 plus (seats) was a target for them and a dare to the Opposition,” Ratan Sharda, a life-long member of the RSS, noted in the article.
The BJP with 240 seats fell short of a majority but the NDA secured the mandate with 293 seats in the Lok Sabha polls. The Congress bagged 99 seats while the INDIA bloc got 234 seats. Following the polls, two Independents who won have also pledged support to the Congress, taking the INDIA bloc tally to 236.
Sharda said targets are achieved by hard work on the field, not sharing posters and selfies on social media.
“Since they were happy in their bubble, enjoying the glow reflected from Modiji’s aura, they were not listening to the voices on the streets,” he added.
Sharda noted that the idea that Modi was fighting on all 543 Lok Sabha seats had “a limited value”.
“This idea became self-defeating when the candidates were changed, imposed at the cost of local leaders and defectors given more importance. Sacrificing even well performing parliamentarians to accommodate late comers hurt. It is estimated that around 25 percent of candidates were seasonal migrants,” he said.
“This happened despite the shocking experience of 30 per cent rebels in the last Himachal Pradesh elections that resulted in defeat of the BJP. Local issues, track record of the candidate does matter, one can see. Disinterest of local BJP workers was due to this factor too,” he added.
Sharda, who has authored many books on the RSS, also flagged “unnecessary politicking” as one of the many reasons behind the BJP’s underperformance in the Lok Sabha polls.
“Maharashtra is a prime example of unnecessary politicking and avoidable manipulations. NCP faction led by Ajit Pawar joined BJP though BJP and split SS (Shiv Sena) had a comfortable majority. Sharad Pawar would have faded away in two-three years as NCP would have lost energy with infighting between cousins,” he said.
“Why was this ill-advised step taken? BJP supporters were hurt because they had fought against this Congress ideology for years and were persecuted. In a single stroke, BJP reduced its brand value. After years of struggle to become numero uno in Maharashtra, it became just another political party without any difference,” he added.
The BJP fared poorly in Maharashtra as it could win only nine seats compared to the 2019 tally of 23 constituencies out of the total 48. The Shiv Sena led by Shinde faction bagged seven seats and Ajit Pawar-led NCP just one.
Without naming any leader, Sharda said the induction of Congressmen into the BJP, who had “actively promoted” the bogey of saffron terror and persecuted Hindus and also called 26/11 ‘RSS ki sazish’ and branded RSS as a terrorist organisation, showed the BJP “in poor light” and also hurt the RSS sympathisers “immensely”.
On the question of whether the RSS worked for the BJP in this election or not, Sharda said, “Let me say bluntly, RSS is not a field force of BJP. In fact, BJP, the biggest party in the world, has its own karyakartas”.
He said routine electoral work of reaching out to voters, explaining the party’s agenda, distributing literature and voter cards are the responsibility of the party.
“The RSS has been raising awareness among the people about issues that impact them and the nation. Except during the 1973-1977 period, RSS has not taken part directly in politics,” he said.
“This time, too, it was officially decided that RSS workers will organise small local, mohalla, building, office level meetings of 10-15 to request people to go out and vote as a duty. It also addressed issues of nation building, national integration and support to nationalist forces,” he said.
In Delhi alone, 1.20 lakh such meetings were held, he added.
“Beyond this, to seek (RSS) swayamsevaks’ cooperation in electoral work, BJP workers, local leaders need to reach out to their ideological allies. Did they? My experience and interaction tells me, they did not,” Sharda said.
“Was it lethargy, overconfidence, sense of comfort that ‘Ayega to Modi hi, Abki bar 400 plus’? I do not know,” he said.
“Showing off is more important by posting selfies with a multiplier effect is the new norm,” he said, adding, “If BJP volunteers don’t reach out to RSS, they have to answer why they thought it was not required?”


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