As polls near, it is focus Bengal for RSS

  • Ravik Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Mar 18, 2015 14:44 IST

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has refocused its Bengal strategy with an overhaul of the leaders in the state. Three of the key members put at the helm of affairs earlier served as assistants of RSS chiefs K Sudarshan and Mohan Bhagwat.

They are Pradip Joshi and Bidyut Mukherjee who have taken over as regional in-charge and south Bengal in-charge respectively.

The rejig comes at a time when infiltration and crossborder terrorism issues have become hot topics in West Bengal politics. Also according to RSS sources, the Sangh will get involved more in guiding BJP in the state for the crucial assembly polls next year.

The change of guard was decided at the three-day Akhil Bhartiya Pratinidhi Sabha in Nagpur that was attended by BJP national president Amit Shah.

“There has been a change in rank and file in this region. The Sangh will go on working for the society and country with more vigour,” said a RSS source from Nagpur.

Adwaitacharan Dutta was replaced as kshetra pracharak (in-charge North Bengal, South Bengal, Odisha, Sikkim and Andaman) by Pradip Joshi (formerly pranta pracharak of Arunachal Pradesh). Interestingly, Joshi had earlier served as the personal assistant to K Sudarshan, the late RSS chief.

Dutta has been promoted to Akhil Bhartiya Saha Pracharak Pramukh (all India co-incharge of pracharak affairs).

Another important functionary is Ramapada Pal, who has been promoted to purba kshetra pracharak pramukh (incharge of pracharak affairs on Eastern Zone).

Bidyut Mukherjee who was saha pranta pracharak has been made the pranta pracharak dakshin Banga (South Bengal incharge of Pracharak affairs). Mukherjee had once served the Sangh as personal assistant to Mohan Bhagwat, when he was all-India general secretary.

Mukhejee will be assisted by Shyamacharan Roy, who has been elevated to saha pranta pracharak.

The south Bengal spokesperson Jishnu Basu has been elevated to dakshin Banga pranta karyavaha (South Bengal general secretary).

Interestingly, Prashant Bhat who was sent last year to Kolkata by the Sangh took up charge in January as Kolkata Mahanagar Pracharak. Bhat, too, served Sangh as Mohan Bhagwat as personal secretary last year.

According to insiders, the Sangh is expected to be more proactive not only on its nationalist agenda but also in the political field.

The Sangh’s decision comes at a time when despite a jump in vote share, the BJP slumped to ignominious defeats in the two recent bypolls in Bongaon (Lok Sabha) and Krishnagunj (assembly constituency).

Recently a number of RSS functionaries have been placed with BJP, both at the state and district levels. Sangh leaders told HT they are grossly underutilised. RSS is also not happy with a section of state BJP leadership in Bengal.

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