Former president Pranab Mukherjee’s presence at a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh valedictory session earlier this month has spiked people’s requests to join the organisation, particularly in his native West Bengal, a senior state RSS leader claimed on Monday.
Senior RSS leader Biplab Roy said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was receiving many applications by those wanting to join the organisation post Mukherjee’s speech at Nagpur on June 7.
“From June 1 to June 6, on an average, we used to receive 378 requests everyday on our website ‘Join RSS’ at the national level. On June 7, the day Mukherjee addressed our Shiksha Varg, we received 1,779 requests. After June 7, we have been receiving 1,200-1,300 requests everyday,” Roy told reporters, adding that 40 per cent of the requests were from Bengal.
When asked whether Mukherjee attending the program has increased the popularity of RSS among masses, the Sangh leader said, “It would be wrong to interpret it in that way that because of Mukherjee, the acceptability of RSS has increased. RSS is popular among masses because of its activities in the society.
“But, yes after Mukherjee’s address there has been an increase in such interests among the masses, this is one of the reasons,” he said.
Roy, the head of media wing of RSS south Bengal unit, criticised a section of media and political parties for their “intolerance and unwarranted criticism” over Mukherjee’s decision to address the RSS program.
“Many political parties talk about tolerance but they themselves have been intolerant towards Mukherjee’s decision to address our program. Several prominent personalities in the past have addressed our programmes,” he said.
Mukherjee was invited by the RSS to address its Shiksha Varg on June 7 and attend a parade by the Sangh workers on completion of the training camp. It was an annual training camp, meant for ‘swayamsevaks’ in their third year in the organisation.
Warning that hatred and intolerance diluted national identity, the former president and Congress veteran had said nationalism was not bound by race or religion, as he called for dialogue to reconcile differences.
Roy said the RSS has been making steady growth in West Bengal.
Till few years back, the RSS used to run 700 shakas in south Bengal region and 300 shakas in north Bengal, but now we are running 1,200 and 400 shakas, respectively in south and north Bengal, he said.
Another senior RSS leader Jishnu Basu said under the ‘Join RSS’ portal, the “position of Bengal in terms of people joining the Sangh is either second or third after Karnataka”.