The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leadership will meet in Nagaur on Friday to firm up its strategy for the upcoming assembly elections in five states, and possibly endorse a makeover of the organisation.
This makeover will include a change in the RSS uniform – dropping the ubiquitous khakhi shorts for trousers.
The topics most likely to be taken up by the Sangh and its affiliates at the three-day Pratinidhi Sabha, the highest decision-making body of the Sangh Parivar, are affordable and quality education, health care and social harmony. “A resolution will be passed to ensure that it becomes the duty of both the government and the society to provide quality and affordable health care and education to the poor and the deprived,” a senior RSS functionary said on the eve of the meet, which will be attended by Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat, BJP president Amit Shah and top officials from both the parties.
Dominating the discussions would be recent students’ agitations as well as the strategy for the upcoming polls – a crucial matter, taking into account the BJP’s setbacks in Delhi and Bihar as well as its ongoing struggle to form a coalition government with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Samajik samarasta” (social harmony) and eradication of casteism, two subjects that the Sangh had passed a resolution on at its last Pratinidhi Sabha, are back on the discussion table. While RSS functionaries admit that the issue of caste-based discrimination persists, its ambitious “one well, one temple, one crematorium” plan for all Hindus is yet to take off.
The Sangh’s decision to focus on education could set off alarm bells, given that it has been accused of spreading anti-Dalit sentiments on campuses and making attempts to saffronise education.
The recent students’ unrest – a result of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide in Hyderabad and charges of sedition slapped against Left-leaning students of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University – is perceived as an insurgence against the Sangh’s growing influence in universities.
The government’s outreach to popularise the Indian system of medicines through the Ayush ministry is also being seen as an RSS-inspired move.
The Sangh’s agenda for the Nagaur meet will also include plans to celebrate the 12th birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar as well as the centenary of stalwarts Balasaheb Deoras and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.