In an effort to ease the severe criticism of the Center since the start of the second Covid wave, Sangh activists have been carrying out relief activities.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat is known as a practical man. He knows when to make public his displeasure with the functioning of the Narendra Modi-led government and when to handle things behind closed doors.
He is also not known as a huge fan of social media and the way the BJP uses it to campaign and troll opponents. It is no surprise that although the Sangh chief has a Twitter account which has 2.4 lakh users, he has not tweeted a single tweet since joining the platform two years ago. He is known to rely on the feedback of grassroots cadres working in the country. And due to its mismanagement in dealing with the second Covid wave, RSS activists are reporting a huge loss of government support from across the country.
When Bhagwat, while addressing the concluding lecture in the ‘Positivity Unlimited’ series on 15 May, called on the government to lapse after the first wave of Covid-19 – along with the administration and public – he knew there was no way he would. Can offer any reliable defense with a collapsing healthcare system. It was a call to action from the government to prepare for the third wave, which the scientific community is flagging after the deadly second wave.
Sangh workers have already been active on the ground to help the people in this difficult time. The effort is to reduce the severe criticism of the government for failing to prepare for the second. The BJP has cranked its social media machinery to shift towards “positivity and proactive approach”.
The government’s inability to cope with the second wave of Covid-19 is ranking some sections of the Sangh Parivar, although they have avoided making public statements. However, a dominant class within the RSS believes that a “positive spin” is needed. A senior RSS leader, who is known to be close to PM Modi, is believed to have come in contact with some influential people in the film industry to enhance the positive things being done by the government Said for – “Vaccine drive, recovery among the patients, import of essential medical equipment and medicines on a war footing”. He is also known for speaking to his contacts abroad and asking them to do so.
However, it is clear that Bhagwat prefers the middle ground. In his lecture, while he did not desist from blaming, partly, on the government’s doorstep, he also preached the positivity mantra. He insisted on being prepared and adopting the right attitude to fight and win the virus in the third wave. “The RSS chief cannot be seen as blindfolded and ignoring what is clear. But then it would be a tighter walk. Not coming out and supporting the government’s efforts can also backfire as it would be seen as a no-confidence motion, ”says a senior RSS official.
The saffron fountainhead has generally kept the criticism of the government out of the public eye, expressing its views through the Secretary-General (Organization) – currently BL. Santosh – which acts as the link between BJP and RSS. Rare occasions when the union has actually offered public comments on the government’s policies include demonetisation. After much internal debate, the RSS issued a statement calling the Prime Minister’s decision “a noble effort” and asking “the patriotic people of India” to cooperate with the government, “in spite of temporary but unavoidable inconvenience”.
Covid-19 is not like demonetization. The RSS leader says, “The government got away with giving spin to demonetisation, but in case of an epidemic, the more spin it tries to give, the worse it will be for optics.”