Nagpur: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday said the government should pass a law to authorise the building of a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya rather than “test the patience of the society", while endorsing the government led by Narendra Modi.
Bhagwat made the remarks, aimed at the next general election, at the annual Vijaya Dashami event of the RSS in Nagpur to mark the 93rd foundation day of the Hindu organization. Child rights activist and Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi was the chief guest, while Hindustani classical vocalist Ustad Rashid Khan and his wife Soha Khan were among special invitees.
Bhagwat asked the Modi government to “expedite the decision regarding the ownership of Ram Janmabhoomi" and to clear the path for the construction of a temple “through appropriate and requisite law". This is the first time Bhagwat has called for a legislative route to fulfilling the RSS demand for a Ram temple in Ayodhya. Till now, he has been saying the RSS would wait for the court’s judgement in the case that pits Hindus against Muslims who want the construction of a mosque.
“The place of Ram Janmabhoomi is yet to be allocated for the construction of the temple although all kinds of evidence have affirmed that there was a temple at that place. There is an obvious game-plan of a few elements to stall the judgment by presenting various newer interventions in the judicial process. It is in nobody’s interest to test the patience of the society without any reason," Bhagwat said.
Bhagwat claimed that the RSS has always kept away from party politics but added that the “swayamsevaks spread all over the country should fulfil their duty as citizens and stand in favour of putting their strength behind the overall national good" in elections due in 2019. “This is an essential task in national interest".
This was Bhagwat’s last Vijaya Dashami speech—the annual statement of mission and agenda for RSS cadres—before the next general elections. What is significant about the speech is its focus on the general elections. Rarely before has an RSS chief’s Vijaya Dashami speech talked at such length about the elections and the need for voters to exercise “conscience voting".
The section on the election was full of appeals to voters and the RSS cadres to “get the verdict which will not lead to repentance" without once mentioning the Modi government but nudging the people to vote the incumbent government back to power.
Bhagwat appealed to even those who were thinking of the None of the Above (NOTA) option. “The characteristics of democratic politics is such that no one can be considered as completely right or wrong. In such a situation, non-voting or using the NOTA, goes in favour of the one most ineffective. So, 100% voting is essential keeping in mind the national interest as supreme," he said.
On the row over the entry of women into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, Bhagwat said the matter should have been left to the religious sect and not settled by a court of law. “We are for gender equality but this was not a matter of gender equality. Also, a court of law can adjudicate on matters of law. But this was a matter of tradition which was being followed by that religious sect for a reason. There was no agitation to demand this, nor were the petitioners the devotees. So the matter should have been left to the best judgment of that sect, religious authorities, and their good sense," Bhagwat said pointing out that the court judgement had created “discontent" which could have been avoided.
RSS, Govt convergence on ‘Urban Naxals’
Bhagwat indicated a total convergence between the RSS and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government’s crackdown on “Urban Naxals".
In September, the Pune police arrested five human rights activists in the Bhima-Koregaon case on charges of hatching a conspiracy to violently overthrow the state government, and called them “Urban Naxals".
Bhagwat sought to link the leading faces of the ‘Bharat Tere Tukde Honge’ slogan with the Jihadi elements outside and within, their intellectual support base, and “Urban Naxals", and asked the government to keep a “constant vigil on such incendiary elements and forces" and to make intelligence gathering more comprehensive and alert.