The real contest in the 2014 Lok Sabha election will be between the ideologies of the Congress and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that will make all efforts to incite communal tensions in the country before the run-up to the polls, Union Rural Development Minister and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said here on Tuesday. 

Describing the Bharatiya Janata Party as a “political mask” of the RSS, Mr. Ramesh said that the key lay with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. 

The Congress, he said, would not compromise with communal forces. “We are fighting the elections on the strength of our ideology, our manifesto and our performance… One set of forces are fighting the 2014 elections on communalism, polarisation, using the government as a mask,as an excuse. We will fight the elections on developmental issues,” he said. 

Asked to comment on Mr. Ramesh’s remark, BJP president Rajnath Singh said the RSS was not a political party, but a socio-cultural organisation and also the biggest voluntary organisation in the world. Instead it was the Congress that was indulging in communal politics. 

Mr. Ramesh cautioned that the recent communal riots in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh were only a trailer and the RSS would try to incite communal tensions in States like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar till the next general elections. 

“The definition of communal forces are not those who are associated with the RSS but those who secretly meet the BJP leaders and have not given a clear indication that they are not with the communal forces,” he said in an apparent reference to the Trinamool Congress.  Questioned if he thought the Trinamool Congress might have an understanding with the BJP, Mr. Ramesh said, “If the Trinamool Congress wants its own funeral then why should we stop them?” 

“We cannot align with a political party which ensures the withdrawal of the BJP candidate by entering into an understanding with the BJP and wins a seat,” he said, ruling out any pre-poll understating with the former ally.

Mr. Ramesh was referring to the withdrawal of the BJP candidate from the Howrah LS by-poll fray. The Trinamool Congress won it by a thin margin.