New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) Five senior functionaries of the RSS primarily decide on the organisation’s views on different economic issues facing the country, sources said.
They believe in chalking out policies which lie between idealism and realism so that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Modi government do not cross each other’s paths, as was the case during the rule of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the sources pointed out.
These RSS cadres are:
1. Suresh Soni — One of the senior functionaries working as RSS Joint Secretary, Soni has a good hold over economics and has even penned a book on the subject. Those associated with the Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Laghu Udyog Bharati report to Soni.
Soni has remained Sehkaryavah in the RSS, which is the second seniormost post after Sarsanghchalak.
2. Bajrang Lal Gupta — Senior RSS Pracharak Gupta has been a professor of economics. Sanghchalak of the northern region, Gupta has been emphasising on the Indian economic model in his books, including “Bharat ka Arthik Itihaas’ and ‘Hindu Arth Chintan’. The sources said that Gupta plays an important role in determining the Sangh’s views on economic issues. He is one of the RSS men who are quite active in Delhi. When the RSS held a programme ‘Bhavishya mein Bharat Kaisa ho’ in 2018, Gupta was present on the dais with RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat.
3. S. Gurumurthy — He is counted among the old hands who have an important role in articulating the RSS viewpoint on all economic issues. Gurumurthy was made a board member in the Reserve Bank of India in 2018 due to his connections both within the RSS and the government. A chartered accountant by profession, Gurumurthy has in the past worked with the RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch.
4. Uday Rao Patwardhan — He is considered among the RSS economic thinkers. Patwardhan has been general secretary in the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh for over two decades. He advises the RSS on economic issues from time to time.
5. Govind Lele: A general secretary of Laghu Udyog Bharti, Lele advises the central government from time to time.
Sangh ideologue Dilip Deodhar told IANS that K.N. Govindacharya is still a useful asset for the RSS due to his experience. Govindacharya contributes inputs for domestic economic thoughts of the RSS. Though he is not quite active as in the past, there is a special arrangement in place for him, reporting directly to the Sangh chief.
Clash of Sangh with Vajpayee government:
RSS sources said that during the NDA government led by Vajpayee, senior ministers Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh had come together to emphasise on pro-capitalist and pro-socialist models of economy. On the other hand, Sangh ideologue and then BJP general secretary Govindacharya and RSS senior leader Dattopant Thengadi believed that the government should base its own model of Indian economy on the basis of domestic issues and not ape the western economic models. Both RSS leaders were convinced that the ‘swadeshi’ model of economy would benefit Indian industry. The RSS views used to clash with the Vajpayee government’s stand on disinvestment, the sources pointed out.
Deodhar maintained that the RSS does not pressurise the Modi government much on economic issues since the Sangh has become more liberal in view of the problems faced by the Centre vis-a-vis the global economy. He said that the government accepts its economic viewpoint wherever it feels like.
On the RSS insistence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi backed out of the RCEP issue after it was felt that it would be detrimental to the Indian industry.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free-trade agreement between 10 member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and five FTA partners Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. India, also an ASEAN FTA partner, opted out of the agreement in November 2019.