The BJP may have maintained that Rahul Gandhi’s visits to villagers’ homes are a just a farce, but the the party’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) does not seem to think so.
While responding to a question on Rahul Gandhi’s village visits, RSS’ Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Manmohan Vaidya said in Rajgir on Friday: “Jo bhi gaaon ki baat kare, achhi baat hai (Whoever talks about villages, it is a good thing).”
Vaidya was addressing media persons on the first day of the three-day Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal (national working committee) meet of the RSS. Contrast this with the BJP’s take on Rahul’s visits to Dalit homes in Uttar Pradesh.
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said days back: “Before going to the homes of Dalits and the village poor, Rahul Gandhi should ask his mummy and Manmohan Singh to contain food inflation that is hitting the rural poor hard.”
Vaidya said village-centric development was a prime subject on the agenda of the present RSS meet, apart from national security.
“Migration from villages has to be stopped. Development should be defined in a village-centric manner,” he told HT at the meeting venue Saraswati Vidya Mandir, four kilometres from Rajgir, a small Bihar town 110 km south-east of Patna.
He also disagreed with the idea that urbanisation is a necessary part of a country’s development. “This is a western notion of development that has created environmental problems due to obsession with industrial growth. We have to shift to a Bharatiya way of life, which is village-centric and environment-friendly. Environment is also a crucial area to be discussed at this meet.”
The RSS has launched a Gau Gram Yatra that will visit lakhs of villages with the message of rural dvelopement and cow protection.
While half the world population is urban, the figure for India was 27 per cent in the 2001 census. 75 per cent of the population of developed countries is urban, leading to the idea that urbanisation – and industrialisation—are central to development.