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Here's what RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said in first comments on poll results

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, in his first comment after the Lok Sabha poll results, stressed the importance of moving past election rhetoric and prioritising the resolution of the Manipur conflict

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat (Photo: PTI)

Nandini Singh New Delhi
Expressing concern over the prolonged unrest in Manipur since the violence erupted in May last year, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat highlighted the urgent need to restore peace in the northeastern state.

Addressing a gathering of RSS leaders and trainees in Nagpur, Maharashtra, Bhagwat stressed that the issue must be prioritised.

“Manipur has been waiting for peace for a year. Before this, it was peaceful for 10 years. It seemed that the old gun culture had ended. And suddenly the conflict that was created or instigated there is still burning in its fire, it is crying for help. Who will pay attention to this? It is our duty to consider it on a priority basis,” said the RSS chief.

Emphasis on moving beyond election rhetoric

Addressing the issue for the second time since the violence erupted in the state, Bhagwat also emphasised the need to move beyond election rhetoric and concentrate on the nation's pressing problems.

The RSS chief further pointed out that elections should not be perceived as ‘war’.

“Elections are a process of building consensus. There is a system in place to ensure that both sides of any issue are represented in a like-minded Parliament. Naturally, achieving such a consensus is challenging among individuals who have arrived there through intense competition. Hence, we rely on the majority. The entire competition is for this purpose. However, it is a competition, not war,” Bhagwat stated.

He further said, “The manner in which events have unfolded, with each side engaging in below-the-belt attacks, ignoring the divisive impact of campaign strategies, and increasing social and mental fault lines, is concerning. Organisations like RSS were unnecessarily dragged into this. Using technology, absolute falsehoods were spread. Does technology equate to knowledge?”

“We must move beyond the excitement of elections and focus on the country’s challenges,” he said.

Role of RSS in elections

The RSS has “fulfilled its role in awakening public opinion. A true servant adheres to decorum. It is essential to perform one's duty efficiently. To work without indulgence is our nature,” Bhagwat remarked.

“The people have given their mandate, and everything will proceed accordingly. Why? How? The Sangh does not delve into these questions,” he stated.

Bhagwat added that the Sangh works to shape public opinion during every election and does not involve itself in analysing the results.

Importance of Opposition

Addressing the significance of the Opposition, Bhagwat stated, “It should not be seen as an adversary. The Opposition presents an alternative perspective. Their views must also be acknowledged.”

“Virodhee ke jagah pratipaksh kaha jaye [Rather than calling them opponents, they should be referred to as the counter side],” he said.

“There are two sides; while one might call it the opposing side, I prefer to call it the counter side. They are not opponents and should not be regarded as such. They are highlighting one aspect of an issue,” Bhagwat said.

“That perspective should also be considered. Even in electoral contests, there is a certain decorum that must be maintained. This decorum was not upheld, and its implementation is crucial as our country continues to face unresolved challenges,” he added.

NDA not free of challenges

“The same government, the National Democratic Alliance [NDA], has returned to power. Numerous positive developments have occurred over the past ten years. We have made progress in various fields such as the economy, defence strategy, sports, culture, and technology. However, this does not imply that we are now free of challenges,” Bhagwat said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections in Manipur, with Congress winning both seats in the state governed by BJP’s N Biren Singh.

The RSS chief said, “Globally, society has evolved, leading to systemic changes. This is the essence of democracy. As Dr Ambedkar stated, any significant transformation requires spiritual rejuvenation.”

He explained that a true servant [sevak] performs tasks without taking pride in the accomplishment. “Do the work, but do not be proud of the work you did,” he said.

“An individual who adheres to the principles of propriety while performing their duties, who takes pride in their work yet remains detached, and who is free from arrogance, truly embodies the spirit of a Sevak,” he added.

‘All opinions are valid and equal’

Bhagwat also acknowledged that “discriminatory behaviour over thousands of years has led to divisions and even resentment.”

“Elections naturally bring about competition, where individuals strive to surpass others. However, this should be conducted with dignity. Lies should not be employed. People are elected to the Parliament to govern our country,” he stated.

He noted, “The purpose of elections is for individuals to be elected to Parliament, to reach a consensus on various issues. Our tradition is to foster consensus… Rigveda rishis understood the human mind and accepted that complete unanimity is unattainable. However, when society decides to work with consensus, it achieves Sah-Chitta.”

He added that the problem with external ideologies was that they presumed themselves to be the sole custodians of correctness.

“Even for the religions and thoughts that entered Bharat, some people became their followers for different reasons. But our culture does not have any problems because of that. The only thing is that we should get rid of the mindset that we are only right, others are not,” he said.

Bhagwat said, “By addressing the distortions that have emerged over time through thoughtful understanding, acknowledging that opinions and methods can differ, we must consider this country our own, establish a devotional relationship with it, and treat all its sons as our brothers.” 

He also emphasised, “Unity is essential in society, but historical injustices have caused divisions among people.”

“The key is to abandon the belief that we are right and everyone else is wrong. There is no need for religious conversion or the like. All opinions are valid and equal; thus, it is better to adhere to one’s own beliefs while respecting others’ views equally,” he added.

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First Published: Jun 11 2024 | 11:52 AM IST

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