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RSS chief vows to fight corruption, skirts Hindutva talks

Last updated on: October 10, 2011 16:28 IST

Ready to support any movement against corruption: Mohan Bhagwat


Sharat Pradhan

Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat took everyone by surprise when he opened a seven-day national convention of the organisation in Gorakhpur with all focus on corruption. Interestingly, he steered clear of the traditional Hindutva-related issues.

Bhagwat's hour-long speech on Sunday evening followed by a longer discourse on Monday sounded more like a page out of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare's oft repeated declarations.

Meanwhile, the Bhartiya Janata Party leadership has chosen to step into RSS shoes by simultaneously undertaking two separate 'Jan Swabhiman' yatras from Mathura and from Varanasi -- in an obvious bid to issue a reminder that they had not given up on the contentious shrines at both the places.

It may be recalled that both Mathura and Varanasi had been on the RSS-BJP radar essentially because of their high Hindutva value -- Mathura being the birthplace of Lord Krishna and Varanasi, the seat of Kashi Vishwanath temple, where Muslims too have staked their claim over the centuries.

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Image: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat


'No intention to take credit for Anna's movement'

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"We are all for support to the anti-corruption movement launched by Anna Hazare," the RSS chief told the gathering. He however hastened to clarify, "but that does not mean that we are aping Anna." As a matter of fact, the RSS has always stood for high moral values and fight against corruption has always been on the list of our priorities, he said.

Sure enough, keeping an eye on the 2012 state assembly elections he went on to add, "We were always ready to support any movement that was directed against ills like corruption, so support to the Anna movement came naturally to us."

Reacting sharply to Hazare's lieutenant Arvind Kejriwal's scathing remarks against the RSS for trying to hijack the anti-corruption tirade, Bhagwat sought to clarify, "We have no intention of attempting to take credit for whatever Anna Hazare has been doing. Yet what cannot be ignored is the fact that a resolution to combat corruption was passed at the last national level RSS meet six months ago."

Image: Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare

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RSS wants to use our movement to gain mileage for BJP: Team Anna

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Team Anna, however, sees the RSS move as a blatant attempt to use the their movement to gain mileage for the BJP.

Evidently, there was a political design behind this whole game. "Wasn't it strange that while the RSS chief was talking of corruption, BJP leader Rajnath Singh was undertaking the much-hyped 'Jan Swabhiman' yatra from Mathura and his associate Kalraj Misra doing the same from Varanasi," pointed out India Against Corruption (IAC) convenor Saurabh Upadhaya.

Apparently, the intent of the RSS-BJP combine was to reassure their hardcore Hindu vote bank that even as they were preparing their cadres to fight corruption, they were still sticking to their old Hindutva path.

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