Sangh Footprint on Modi Cabinet- 71% leaders have links with RSS

New Delhi: It is by now a known fact that Sangh ideologies are dominant on the ruling party’s government policies and their association with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

One out of every five BJP MPs associated with RSS or had RSS background had three times better ministerial prospects than others , with them securing places in Modi’s cabinet 2019, The Print reported.

PM Modi is a former RSS pracharak while Home Minister Amit Shah was associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the RSS’ students wing.

38 Ministers appointed in Modi’s cabinet have Sangh background which makes it to a total 71 percent of the Ministerial positions following RSS ideology.

It may now be known, out of 53 ministers, 38 are RSS ideology followers.

However, the PM has assigned several key portfolios to ministers who don’t have an RSS background, including Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman, Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Power Minister R.K. Singh.

“Having an affiliation with the RSS is not a criterion to become a minister,” the leader said. “The PM and senior leadership take a call on this. To say someone is being promoted merely because they have links with the RSS is not a fair comment.”

Another RSS functionary claimed that “The RSS has no role in deciding tickets for the party or deciding the portfolio. At the same time, RSS only believes in two things — there are those who are already with us and those who are yet to come under the fold.”

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“As far as BJP leaders are concerned, Sushma Swaraj had no RSS background but she held important positions and even Jaswant Singh didn’t. So these categorisations are not correct.”

Sangh footprint on Modi Cabinet

It is evident from the fact that of the 303 BJP MPs in the Lok Sabha, 146 or 48 percent have an affiliation to the RSS while speaking of Rajya Sabha out of its 82 MPs, 34 are associated with Sangh.

For instance, a separate Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries were created in Modi 2.0, a suggestion that has chiefly emerged from the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) with the National Education Policy (NEP) also lists numerous suggestions in the draft policy from Sangh-affiliated organisations.

“The government wants to promote those who have ideological integrity. Compared to the previous Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, which didn’t enjoy a full majority, the Modi dispensation has made it quite clear that it is a government that has no qualms in furthering the Sangh agenda,” said Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a writer and journalist based in Delhi.

“Right from the PM, home minister and defence minister, all have an RSS background. The fact that there are more ministers from RSS background is also because this is the government’s way to integrate the Sangh Parivar in a better way so that there are no divisions,” added the writer who has also written the books The RSS — Icons of the Indian Right and Narendra Modi: The Man, The Times.  

Professor Suhas Palshikar who had taught political science at Savitribai Phule Pune University, said:  “I believe if we compare this with the Vajpayee government the situation might be different probably because it was a coalition government. As far as Modi government is concerned, we see a very specific relationship with the RSS, and their agenda is taken up by the government.”

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“As far as ministers are concerned, one may see those with an RSS background occupying important portfolios too. It is this unique situation between an organisation and a party where it is difficult to say who is controlling whom, but their agendas are definitely complementary and so are their political projects.”

Inside Modi’s cabinet

The most important panel in the Modi cabinet- the cabinet committee on security (CCS), is dominated by the Sangh with only two non-RSS members — Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

The Cabinet Committee is headed by PM Modi with Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath, all from the Sangh Parivar.

The Second most important cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) is also dominated with RSS associates.

Rajnath Singh, Shah, Nitin Gadkari, D.V. Sadanand Gowda, Narendra Singh Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan all links to the RSS except the two – Sitharaman and Jaishankar.

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