most opinion polls have projected the Samajwadi Party as the closest challenger to the BJP | Photo: PTI

RSS to BJP: Be sensitive to protesting farmers, do not antagonise communities

The RSS has advised the BJP and its government to adopt a sensitive approach towards the farmers’ protest and avoid antagonising communities, ahead of the upcoming assembly elections.

The senior RSS leaders who meet the Uttar Pradesh ministers and party leaders — in a series of meetings in Noida, Delhi, earlier in the week — advised them to soothe the atmosphere in western Uttar Pradesh where the protest against contentious farm laws has intensified. Legislative members from the western Uttar Pradesh region also attended those meetings.

The RSS has expressed resentment in the past over the farmers’ protest against the farm laws. It claimed that the perception of the ruling party is turning ‘hostile’ towards Jats and Sikhs in Uttar Pradesh could be affecting it.

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RSS joint general secretary Krishna Gopal noted in one of the meetings that the party should ‘calm down’ the tensions among the protesting farmers.

The protests have triggered a lot of outrage in the Sikh community in Punjab and among Jats against the party. However, the BJP is confident that the Jats in western Uttar Pradesh would not largely vote against it as the farm laws are ‘not the only issue.’

Attempts to link the protesters to Khalistani separatists has further damaged the BJP’s image in the Sikh community. A senior BJP leader said, “Although the BJP is not nursing high hopes about electoral gains in Punjab, antagonising all minority communities does not go down well for the party.”

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BJP MP Varun Gandhi has also earlier warned that such attempts could affect national security. The RSS’s advice originates after Prime Minister Narendra Modi has himself said the party leaders to act against the attempts to ‘portray the BJP as a communal party.’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for the leaders to draft strategies to get rid of the ‘communal image’ and make the party acceptable to all.

The RSS wants the BJP to take a more acceptable stand ahead of the assembly elections. According to the RSS leaders, alienating smaller communities, forming part of the Hindu community, would have its own consequences.

In a new development, the police started removing its barricades in Ghazipur and Singhu, indicating a thaw in the stand-off with farmers.

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