Former RSS workers announce new political party in poll-bound MPtext_fields
Bhopal: A group of former RSS members, who departed the organization more than 15 years ago, has launched a new political party in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh named "Janhit", stating that they aim to break the dominance of Congress-BJP politics in the state and offer the public “a new alternative”.
Janhit convened its inaugural meeting on Sunday, with over 200 attendees. These members, most of whom left the RSS in 2007, argue that the BJP has deviated from its core ideology and has become unrecognisable from the opposition Congress.
In the Madhya Pradesh Assembly election, Congress has adopted Hindutva aggressively to counter the BJP, they said.
The formation of Janhit follows the Bajrang Sena, a right-wing group formed by a former Bajrang Dal member, aligning with the Congress about three months ago, citing disillusionment with the BJP in Madhya Pradesh.
The Congress said the formation of a party of their own by former RSS members was an indication of the growing disenchantment within the BJP. “This is like showing a mirror to the BJP. Even RSS members are disillusioned with the BJP, which has become a centre of corruption,” Congress spokesperson Piyush Babele said, as quoted by The Indian Express.
Playing down the development, BJP spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi said: “Everyone has a right to take their ideology to the public. The BJP will continue to work on its agenda of development and welfare.”
Another BJP leader said the development only helps the RSS, by spreading its message. “You don’t leave the RSS, in your hearts, it is always there. They (the former RSS pracharaks) too will carry forward the message of the sangathan. They can join any party they want; in the end, our agenda is carried forward,” the leader said, reports The Indian Express.
Janhit members said that unlike the Bajrang Sena, they had no plans to join the Congress. “It is out of the question. We are not politicians at heart, but missionaries. We can’t go to the BJP or the Congress. We will fight independently,” says a leader.
Former RSS pracharak Abhay Jain (60), a founding member of the Janhit, says their focus is on “issues of governance”, moving the same away from capitalists towards “people-centric” goals while, at the same time, “retaining the core elements of Hindutva”.
Belonging to a family of RSS members, Jain, a resident of Indore, joined the Sangh when he was in Class 4. An engineering graduate, he organised shakhas in Bhopal before being drawn to the Ram Mandir movement. He also claims to have held protests against “the appeasement politics of the Congress”, as quoted by The Indian Express.
Jain says his break from the Sangh came in 2007. “I see myself as a freelancer swayamsevak. I could not help society in the RSS the way I wanted to. Our roles were fixed in the RSS. I thought I could do something more for society.”
Another founding member, Vishal, 45, says: “I joined the RSS for its core ideology. I saw that we were not walking on that path. I wanted to do more for society. We could not have much political ambitions in the Sangh either. We had no choice but to leave.”
“The BJP has a good ideology but they don’t follow it anymore. We still believe in the basic tenets of the RSS and are running a public movement. We have in the past campaigned on environmental issues, unemployment, false riot cases, issues related to farmers. On the other hand, look at the BJP, they are even developing religious places as tourist spots, which should not be done. We protested vigorously against this”, added Vishal.
On the Congress flirtation with Hindutva, Jain says: “Hindutva culture has become mainstream and everyone wants to become a Hindutva icon, whether it is (Arvind) Kejriwal or Kamal Nath. They are running after voters. This is not Hindutva.”
The Congress’s Hindutva tilt has included its state president and leading CM face Kamal Nath portraying himself as a Hanuman devotee, holding religious events, and setting up a massive Hanuman idol on his political turf Chhindwara
Manish Kale, a Janhit member from Gwalior, says they are still getting the basics in place and have not decided on the seats they would contest from. “Our main aim is to make sure that the common man has a choice and is not forced to pick between two parties which offer the same choices. In Ram Rajya, how can education and health be turned into a business and people into commodities? This culture has to change.”
Party members say are confident about posing a challenge in the year-end elections. “I don’t know if we will be able to cut into BJP votes. We are a small party and it is true that the BJP has a vast organisation with vast resources, they won’t be scared of us. But we will still try,” says Jain.
Kale says that the launch event drew approximately 200 attendees, primarily comprised of former RSS members hailing from the Bundelkhand, Vindhyachal, and Gwalior-Chambal regions of the state, along with individuals who have been associated with them since 2008.
Although Janhit is yet to register as a political party, its leaders said that they have initiated the process and engaged a lawyer.