Atal Bihari Vajpayee was often irked by the language used by Hindutva hard liners. So, it seems, is prime minister Narendra Modi. Yet, he is treading cautiously. While publicly maintaining a stoic silence over contentious issues, Modi has put in place a communication mechanism with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on government policies to avert a face off. He has asked ministries to keep concerned affiliates of the RSS in the loop on policy matters, by holding consultations before announcing decisions on related policy matters.Even on the issue of replacing the Planning Commission with the NITI Aayog, deliberations were held between government and RSS think tanks before a final decision was taken, sources said.The idea is to avert an open confrontation on policy issues with the RSS, the BJP’s ideological mentor. Though the Modi government may go ahead with certain decisions, like FDI in insurance, coal ordinance or labour laws, despite resistance from the Sangh’s oufits, the message that is conveyed is that it has taken cognisance of the RSS views.”Consultations are held between government and organisations affiliated with the RSS on various issues. The government puts its views before us. But, its not necessary that we agree on everything,” says Ashwani Mahajan of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), which deals with economic issues. The SJM is opposed the government’s FDI policy.Since the RSS was founded in 1925, around a 100 of its wings have sprouted dealing with various sectors including economy, farmers, education, tribals, trade unions, think tanks, students, culture and small industries. The trade union wing– Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh– has joined trade unions of rival political parties in taking to the streets against the government.”I don’t see any confrontation with the government. A trade union has to protect interests of workers,” said BMS general secretary Virjesh Upadhyay.Modi, according to sources, would rather placate the Sangh through the development agenda by delivering on promises like Ganga rejuvenation plan, than through radical Hindutva issues.Even as his silence on controversial issues and statements are being interpreted in different ways, sources said Modi is conveying his disapproval through emissaries. He has made it clear that neither the government nor party should deviate from the development agenda.The RSS, too, would not want to take on the Modi government at a time when its political outfit was on a winning spree in electoral battles and had got a clear mandate for the first time in Lok Sabha elections. A party leader, who is close to the Sangh, said the RSS was “proud” of the “corruption-free” government under Modi’s leadership and its “pro-poor” schemes. The entire RSS machinery is involved in the election campaigns for the BJP.”Modi’s relationship with the RSS is both complementary and competitive. The RSS is part of his past… Modi wants to modernise in a way the RSS can’t. The RSS is national, Modi wants to be global,” said sociologist Shiv Visvanathan.While a section in the party may be of the view that polarisation could help in elections in states like Uttar Pradesh, Modi appears confident that he would be able to lead the party to victories through the development plank.Party insiders, who have been watching the developments since the earlier NDA regime, say the hard liners have been speaking the same language but when the BJP is in power it comes into focus. A party functionary recalled that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee often asked why the hard liners did not say “Bharat” or “India” instead of harping on “Hindus”.

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Narendra Modi chants development to win over RSS