NEW DELHI: Top BJP ministers went into a huddle with RSS functionaries on Wednesday to exchange ideas on the current social and political develoments and brief Sangh-affiliated bodies about the various initiatives taken up by the government in the last one year to bring about a “nationalistic perspective” to governance.
With issues like the one rank, one pension (OROP) scheme for ex-servicemen, Patels’ agitation in Gujarat, land bill and religion-caste census data dominating the mindspace in the country, the RSS wants the BJP-led NDA government to address them effectively. Senior RSS functionaries reportedly discussed the issue of OROP with the senior ministers on the sidelines of the three-day meeting and favoured an early resolution of the same, given its impact on the armed forces and its resonance in the Sangh Parivar. There were even suggestions that a commission be set up to resolve the issue.
But separately, a few Union ministers, outside the meeting, said an amicable solution to the OROP deadlock was on the cards. Earlier, speaking to reporters, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, however, ruled out any discussion on OROP, pointing out that the government was seized of the matter.
“The meeting is about how we should move ahead into the future. It’s not about any review of the government or any policy and programmes,” he clarified and added that issues like agriculture, security and economy were being discussed. Sources also said the government would be given feedback on several issues and discounted the possibility of any threadbare analysis of a specific programme or policy. The various RSS outfits did indeed give a grassroots report to the government and senior BJP leaders, including party chief Amit Shah, on the Centre’s perceived disconnect with the general public and stressed the need for greater co-ordination.
Sources told Express that the focus of the first day of the meeting was on economic issues. Social, culture and educational matters will come up for discussion in the next two days. Union Home Minster Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Transport Minister Gadkari, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar and Health Minister JP Nadda were among those present at the meeting on Wednesday. From the BJP, apart from Shah, vice-presidents and general secretaries took part in the deliberations. Sources said Sushma Swaraj gave an overview of the government‘s recent foreign policy initiatives. Prime Minister Modi is expected to attend the meeting on Friday.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat presided over the meeting, which was also attended by representatives of 15 Sangh associates, including the VHP, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch and the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangathan. Coordination meetings among the Parivar outfits are bi-annual in nature. This time, the number of participants is almost double the usual.