Home minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday rejected suggestions that the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) was influencing decision-making in the Narendra Modi government and pointed out that such an intervention was unnecessary since he, and the prime minister, were RSS volunteers.
Singh’s assertion of the close bond between the Bharatiya Janata Party and its ideological parent comes in the backdrop of RSS leaders holding a string of meetings with union ministers, reportedly to persuade the government to make changes to its policy.
“RSS is not an external force. I am from the RSS. The Prime Minister himself is a RSS volunteer. We are (RSS members) from childhood and will remain till we are alive,” Singh said at the HT Leadership summit.
“When we ourselves are from the RSS, then what influence will it have to wield? One could have understood the argument of any organisation influencing the government if it had a different identity, a different ideology,” the home minister said.
On repeal of Article 370 that gives J-K a special status, Singh reiterated that the BJP favoured a debate on the utility of the provision in the Constitution and wanted governance — and not this controversial provision — to be the election plank for the J&K elections.
Responding to questions on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Singh made it clear that the Modi government did not intend to repeal, amend or tone down the AFSPA that human rights activists call a draconian law.
The home minister said he did not feel this was the right time to consider amending or reducing the areas covered under the law that explicitly empower security forces to shoot to kill. “We will need to wait for some more time,” he said.