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RSS not to interfere in BJP's routine affairs
K G Suresh in New Delhi | October 27, 2005 20:40 IST
With its role in the Bharatiya Janata Party coming under attack, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has decided to distance itself from the day-to-day functioning of the party and concentrate its energies in the socio-cultural arena and on organisational expansion.
A broad consensus on this issue was arrived at the Sangh fountainhead's recent national executive meeting in Chitrakoot, Sangh Parivar sources said.
The development assumes significance as it came close on the heels of BJP president Lal Kishenchand Advani's scathing attack on the Sangh for its "interference" in the party's day-to-day affairs while announcing his plan to step down as also senior party leader Uma Bharati's criticism of senior Sangh functionary Suresh Soni for "interfering" in the Madhya Pradesh unit.
Apparently concerned over the battering its image has received, Sangh leaders deliberated on the issue for over an hour at the 'Mukt Chintan' (free thinking) session on the last day of the conclave and insisted that it re-focus its attention on reviving its dwindling 'shakhas' to attract youth to the fold and work with like-minded organisation against caste and sectarian issues dividing Hindu society.
When contacted, RSS spokesman Ram Madhav neither confirmed nor denied the deliberations but said, "The RSS does not interfere in the day-to-day functioning of ideological organisations. It should not be dragged into it. It will have no interference on a day-to-day basis."
He said Sangh's views on various issues are conveyed to these organisations through the 'swayamsewaks' working there.
As part of the new policy, RSS would be coordinating with BJP only at the state level and not at the national level, the sources said.
The Sangh is also expected to abandon the earlier practice of forming 'Lok Jagran Manch' (Public Awareness Fora) ahead of elections to "expose and criticise" non-BJP parties.
"We will now leave it to the local candidates to rally the Sangh Parivar activists in his support. The RSS will not take the initiative," a senior Sangh functionary said.
The RSS delegates gathered at the meeting conceded there was growing public perception of Sangh's "increasing" involvement in politics as against its work in the social field.
With the centenary celebrations of its second chief Guru M S Golwalkar beginning in February 2006 as its launchpad, the Sangh would now be concentrating on expanding its 'shakhas' from the existing 40,000 to over 70,000.
As part of its plans to gain wider acceptance, the RSS would also be networking with like-minded organisations which may not even share ideological proximity with it.
It would put religious leaders in the forefront to fight caste and sectarian feelings dividing Hindu society.
Attacking RSS, Advani had said in Chennai September that "lately an impression has gained ground that no political or organisational decisions can be taken without the consent of RSS functionaries. This perception, we hold, will do no good either to the party or to the RSS. The RSS too must be concerned that such a perception will dwarf its greater mission of manmaking and nation- building. Both the RSS and the BJP must consciously exert to dispel this impression."