RSS Warns Faulty Economic Policies Needs Correction Expeditiously
Opinion | The BJP led NDA government at the centre might be compelled to present a people oriented budget for 2018-19 even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi faces major challenges in the new year.
For one there are no fewer than eight assembly elections scheduled for this year followed by the general elections in the first half of next year. With growth estimates lower than projected amid worrying data on agriculture, the RSS as the ideologue of the Lotus party has warned the political leadership that the twin issues of farm distress and galloping unemployment could be the main pressure points.
This comes at a time when the saffron brigade’s win for a sixth successive time in the Gujarat assembly elections recently was nothing much to rave about. While the BJP’s win was not in doubt in Modi as well as his confidant and party president Amit Shah’s home state, it failed to cross the three figure mark. They had to settle for 99 seats which was 16 fewer than its tally of 115 in 2012.
Shah had, however, pitched for 150 seats in the 182-member assembly which his own party leaders felt was being highly over ambitious.
While the Lotus party enjoys a majority on its own in the Lok Sabha, it is handicapped in the Rajya Sabha as the NDA continues to be in a minority and its efforts to rummage the numbers has proved to be in vain.
With less than five months remaining for the assembly poll in Karnataka, the party brass has already begun drawing up its strategy in this crucial southern state where the Congress is at the helm of affairs. It is the lone southern state where the saffron brigade has held the reins of power and is keen on enlarging its presence particularly in Tamil Nadu caught in the grip of political flux.
The five southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana along with the lone Union Territory of Puducherry account for 130 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha.
Assembly elections are also due this year in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh among others where anti-incumbency against the ruling BJP can pose problems.
It is in this context that the BJP wants to enlarge its poor arithmetic in the South to offset the possible losses in the North which facilitated Modi becoming the Prime Minister in May 2014.
In the 43 months that Modi has been the Head of Government, the BJP has managed to remain several steps ahead of the Congress which has been found wanting because of its bane of infighting and the organisation being in a shambles.
The Grand Old party lacks leaders having a mass base in the states. The all powerful Congress High Command must accept responsibility for its peremptory style of functioning throwing the party in disarray.
The baton of Congress president has passed on to the Nehru-Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi after an extended apprenticeship. He has to enthuse the Congress rank and file to get it firing. The challenge is daunting. Delaying the dynastic accession might have been counter productive.
Can Rahul articulate a vision with a catchy slogan that hits the bulls eye as evidenced in the past like Indira Gandhi’s “garibi hatao”. He might come across being earnest and sincere but lacks Modi’s guile of imparting a shrewd political spin.
Evolving an understanding with credible regional leaders for a non-BJP Front assumes importance. Working out this arrangement cannot be left to the last minute. The outcome of the assembly elections in Gujarat was a pointer to the Prime Minister’s honeymoon with the people taking a hit. In the last two to three decades it has been invariably seen that the Head of Government’s popularity begins taking a dip sharply on completing 36-42 months in office.
There is no doubt that the Modi-Amit Shah duo have worked in tandem and blazed a winning trail with few parallels. The BJP is in power in 19 states with the India map splashed with saffron across it.
The Congress has been in the dumps over the last three and a half years. It is in power only in Punjab and Karnataka. Rahul needs to think out of the box in revitalising the party organisation as well as catching the people’s imagination.
The focus should be on evolving policies why the Modi government’s much touted “aache din aane wale hain” has bombed so far.
The RSS has drawn attention to the twin issues of farm distress and galloping unemployment as the main pressure points. It emphasised the BJP was in trouble in Gujarat because of the simmering anger in rural areas particularly the disgruntlement among the educated youth. It attributed the current state of affairs to the ruling party’s faulty economic policies warning that without expeditious corrective measures the situation could worsen.
The RSS also warned that matters could get worse in the ensuing assembly elections besides casting its shadow in next year’s general elections. That is some food for thought for the Prime Minister who has charted a remarkable winning streak so far. It is widely believed a second term as the Prime Minister is in Modi’s grasp as the opposition is nowhere near getting its act together at this juncture.