September 20, 2018

RSS eyes reach beyond Bihar

Patna: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat left for Varanasi on Thursday after presiding over the two-day meeting of the “chhota toli” or small group – the think-tank comprising the seven topmost functionaries of the organisation.

RSS general secretary Suresh S. Joshi a.k.a. Bhaiyyaji Joshi, joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale, Suresh Soni, Krishan Gopal and V. Bhagaiah, who make up the core team, were among those present at the meeting that sets the agenda for the coming year. The deliberations are then taken up at their national executive.

Though it’s not known what transpired at the meeting, the very fact that the deliberations were held in Patna (on February 13 and 14), coupled with Bhagwat’s 10-day stay in the state capital and Muzaffarpur from February 6, shows that Bihar has become the focal point of the RSS.

The outfit has around 1,837 shakhas (branches or assemblies) across Bihar, which is divided into north and south for the organisation.

North, which is more populous, has 1,137 shakhas, while the south has around 700.

“Bihar is among the most sensitive states – politically and strategically – and a very important one too. Ours is a pan-India organisation and we have been active here for the last nine decades. The aim is to strengthen the organisation here. The focus is to bring more and more students, farmers and workers in our fold,” a senior RSS functionary told The Telegraph on the condition of anonymity.

The RSS functionary said Bhagwat, during his 10-day visit, held a series of meetings in Muzaffarpur at which he stressed on organic farming, agriculture related issues, and improving the breed of cows.

A long-time RSS member pointed out that Bihar’s importance stems from the fact that it is strategically located, sharing borders with Nepal, Bengal, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and is just 35km away from Bangladesh. It is also on the road and rail route to the Northeast.

“Such a pivotal location of the state could be used as a base to expand in Bengal, Nepal and the Northeast. It could be done directly or through affiliated organisations. North-eastern parts of Bihar have become hubs of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and the issue needs to be tackled. Moreover, the time is opportune for expansion as Bihar is now under NDA rule,” the RSS member added.

Sources in the RSS said the chhota toli meeting discussed the 2019 general elections and the stance, as well as the preparations, for it.

However, RSS’s north Bihar prant pracharak Ram Kumar told The Telegraph: “Nothing political should be read in the visit of our sarsanghchalak or other meetings organised by the RSS in the state. The tours of our top leaders are fixed six months to one year ago and we don’t get influenced by politics or political situations. Our focus is on how to strengthen the organisation and the society. We are trying to get more students, farmers and workers as our members.”

The RJD ridiculed the RSS’s thrust into Bihar, saying it stemmed from a fear of Lalu Prasad and Tejashwi Prasad Yadav’s popularity among the masses.

“The people of Bihar are angry with Nitish. The state under the guidance of Lalu and Tejashwi has emerged as a fort of secularism and social justice. The BJP and RSS are worried that light from this fort will spread to other states. Hence, they are making all efforts to bring it under their control, though it would never happen,” RJD state president Ram Chandra Purbey told The Telegraph.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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