The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Saturday re-elected Suresh alias Bhaiyyaji Joshi as its general secretary for another three years — a move being viewed as one to keep the Narendra Modi supporters within the sangh parivar under check. Joshi has been the RSS general secretary, the second-in-command in the Sangh, for the last six years.
Joshi was re-elected by 1,400 delegates from across the country at the all-India Pratinidhi Sabha of RSS, the highest decision-making body of the Sangh, at its meeting here today.
Speculation was rife that Joshi, who was completing his three-year term, may be replaced by joint general secretary, Dattatreya Hosabale, a known Modi loyalist, within the organization. However, the leadership refused to replace Joshi as a move to strike a balance between the Modi government and Sangh Pariavar.
According to RSS insiders, a sizeable section of swyamsevaks wanted a change with the appointment of Hosabale, a young dynamic former ABVP activist as the RSS general secretary. However, RSS chief Bhagwat, the akhil Bharatiya pracharak pramukh Manmohan Vaidya and other senior leaders did not agree for a change as there were no valid reasons for change in guard.
Moreover, the sixty-nine year old Joshi played a pivotal role in motivating the swayamsevaks for campaigning for the BJP and ensured its win in the 2014 elections. Over six-lakh swayamsevaks across the country under the leadership of Joshi had actively participated to canvass and mobilize support for the BJP to get an absolute majority in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Also, by denying Hosabale for the second-in-command post, the senior RSS leaders “scuttled” Modi assuming a “total control” within the sangh parivar. The proximity between Hosabale and Modi is well-known among RSS rank and file.
Informing the new election this here on Saturday, J Nandkumar, sah-pracharak pramukh, said that Bhaiyyaji was unanimously re-elected as the general secretary for a third time. His name was proposed by Siddhinath Singh, sanghchalak from Bihar while Dr Bhagwati Prakash of north region seconded the proposal which was later endorsed unanimously. He will choose his team of joint general secretaries and working committee by tomorrow. Till now, he had three joint general secretaries - Dattatreya Hosbole, Suresh Soni and Krishan Gopal.
Meanwhile, the RSS on Saturday urged the union and state governments to introduce Yoga as a part of education curriculum, supporting research in Yoga and make all possible efforts to promote Yoga in social life in the wake of UN resolution to observe International Yoga Day every year on June 21. A formal resolution was adopted in the meeting in this regard.
The reports from BJP, BMS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh and Swadesh Jagaran Manch are likely to be tabled in the meeting later tonight for discussion, Nandkumar further informed.
BJP general secretary and former RSS spokesman Ram Madhav congratulated Joshi by saying “abhinanadan and respect” by tweeting immediately after his re-election.
Among the prominent sangh parivar leaders who participated in the brain-storming session on Saturday include: the BJP chief Amit Shah, national organizing secretary of the party, Ramlal, the party general secretary, Ram Madhav, the union minister for transport, Nitin Gadkari, the Maharashtra chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis and Vishwa Hindu parishad leader Pravin Togadia.