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Posted at: Sep 14, 2017, 12:38 AM; last updated: Sep 14, 2017, 12:38 AM (IST)

RSS, BJP recant positions?

A belated course correction
RSS, BJP recant positions?
IS the RSS changing its stripes? Has the Nagpur brass realised the need to recant in public its tacit support to Internet stalking or insistence on having its way on the Ram temple-Babri masjid dispute or deporting Rohingya refugees? Three recent developments provide a window to the Sangh Parivar’s exertions to salvage the government’s image sullied by its ideology’s simple-minded torchbearers on the streets. The RSS chief, in an interaction mediated by a Sangh quarterbacked thinktank, felt the need to assure diplomats in Delhi that his organisation does not subscribe to hate messages on social media.  

This is a marked lowering of tone. After all, the Sangh and its affiliates had crafted a political strategy out of hounding and humiliating anyone who dared dissent with the ruling dispensation in Delhi. The catalyst may have been a new low by the Sangh Parivar’s troll army in exulting over the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh. The huge turnouts at her wakes and journalist Ravish Kumar’s acerbic commentary that gathered over 1 crore views indicate that hate had failed to pay. They had gotten away with the lynching of the Pehlu Khans but Gauri Lankesh’s murder was the last straw on the middle class citizen’s back. The second turnaround was with Rohingya refugees. For an aspirant for global recognition and respect, the UN’s rap on the knuckles must have stung. Within a few hours and much against its instincts, New Delhi threw a lifeline to the Rohingyas.

The third turnaround is the Modi-Shinzo Abe “road show”, designed to terminate at Ahmedabad’s iconic mosque. Though the regime’s instincts lean towards obliterating symbols of Mughal era, the mosque visit is a signal to the world that the country’s rudder is in sure hands. As industrial growth slows and foreign investors baulk, the Centre may have realised that hate and governance by acronyms cannot be its mainstay, especially when it enticed the voters with visions of breakneck vikas. The soft face may be a tactical retreat but is an opening for the Sangh’s saner backers to realise that in an interconnected world, tried tactics have a short shelf life.

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