[14th June 2024] The Hindu Op-ed: The message in the RSS chief’s Speech

PYQ Relevance:

Q Discuss the role of the Election Commission of India in the light of the evolution of the Model Code of Conduct.(UPSC IAS/2022)

Q Simultaneous election to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies will limit the amount of time and money spent in electioneering but it will reduce the government’s accountability to the people’ Discuss. (UPSC IAS/2017)

Mentors’ Comment: In an impressive speech (one of many he has delivered), RSS chief Mr Bhagwat has effectively outlined a road map for the newly reinstated government and proposed a model code of conduct, a role typically expected of the Election Commission of India (ECI) during the 2024 general election. The common thread between the two lies in what remains unspoken. While the ECI subtly warned the party, the RSS leader delivered a directive to ‘whomsoever it may concern.’ Mr. Bhagwat’s message is clear and direct, in contrast to the ECI’s subdued and carefully crafted communication. Both messages aim to hit their mark without explicitly identifying the target.

Let’s learn.

Why in the News?

  • Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat’s strategic address outlines a governance roadmap, similar to the ECI’s muted directive, both subtly guiding political conduct.
Key Implications of 2024 General Elections:

No more Charisma: The party’s reliance on single personal charisma may have reached its limit, with diminishing returns evident in the election results.
Local Issues Matter: The party’s disconnect from local issues in key states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and West Bengal contributed to electoral setbacks.
Role of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh): The party underestimated the importance of the RSS in grassroots mobilization and support, which affected its electoral performance.
Dalit Voters Cannot Be Taken for Granted: Attempts by leaders to discuss changes to reservation policies backfired, leading to significant losses among Dalit and OBC (Other Backward Classes) voters.
Importance of Opposition Alliances: The success of opposition alliances, particularly the INDI Alliance, highlighted the necessity for the Congress and other parties to forge effective alliances to consolidate non-NDA votes.

Bhagwat’s Strategic Speech

  • Roadmap for Government: Bhagwat’s speech laid out a roadmap for the government and a model code of conduct, akin to the expectations of the Election Commission of India (ECI) during the 2024 general election.
  • Clear Message: Bhagwat’s message was clear and direct, while the ECI’s was more muted.
  • Issue Addressing: Both messages aimed to address issues without directly targeting any party.

Election Commission’s Actions

  • Complaint Examination: The ECI examined complaints, asked political parties for explanations, and issued mild reprimands.
  • Impartial Justice: The ECI aimed to deliver impartial justice, risking its image but believing it was repaired by the efficient conduct of the 2024 general election.

Bhagwat’s Post-Election Message

  • Post-Mortem of Election: Bhagwat’s address came after the general election results, suggesting a post-mortem of election conduct.
  • ‘Mishap’ and ‘Maryada’: He implied that the ‘mishap’ was losing the majority, caused by ‘unnatural’ violations of decorum during the campaign by both sides.

Key Words and Their Importance

  • ‘Maryada’ and ‘Ahankar’: Bhagwat emphasized ‘Maryada’ (dignity) and ‘Ahankar’ (arrogance).
  • True Workers: He stated that true workers maintain dignity without arrogance, linking ‘Maryada’ to Lord Ram and suggesting a model code of conduct.

RSS Vision and Humility

  • The metaphor of Growth: The RSS website uses the metaphor “Great oaks from little acorns grow,” applying it to the growth of the organization and its volunteers.
  • Importance of Humility: Bhagwat stressed the importance of humility among swayamsevaks (volunteers).

Treating Political Opponents

  • Respect for Opponents: Bhagwat highlighted treating opponents with respect after the contest is over.
  • ‘Pratipaksh’ (Opposition): He used the term ‘pratipaksh’ to emphasize the democratic need for inclusivity and respect for opposing views.

Inclusivity and Consensus

  • Call for Inclusivity: Bhagwat called for inclusivity and building consensus, placing the onus on the ruling party.
  • Responsibility of Power: He stressed that the responsibility lies with those in power to diminish societal divisions and alleviate minority apprehensions.

India’s Diversity

  • Mutual Respect: Bhagwat acknowledged India’s diversity and the need for mutual dependence and respect among different communities.
  • Condemnation of Division Exploitation: He condemned those who exploit divisions for political gains and called for leaders to foster harmony.

Conclusion: Mohan Bhagwat’s address serves as a strategic guide, emphasizing dignity, humility, and inclusivity to strengthen India’s democratic foundations and societal harmony. His message calls for mutual respect, the acknowledgement of diverse perspectives, and the importance of a strong, united foundation for stable governance.


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