25,000 RSS workers create conducive atmosphere for CMUpdated: Oct 19, 2019 00:38 IST
After playing a pivotal role in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s landslide victories in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections and 2014 Assembly elections, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is all set to play the role of a guardian angel to the party in the Assembly elections.
Insiders say more than 25,000 RSS workers in Maharashtra have been tasked to create a conducive atmosphere for the ruling BJP and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Each worker has been given the responsibility of convincing at least 15 families in favour of the BJP and Fadnavis. RSS coordinators are encouraging swayamsevaks to use social media to communicate and reach out to the voters, according to RSS functionaries.
RSS analyst and an ex-swayamsevak Dilip Deodhar said activists of saffron organization are working relentlessly to send out a message that Fadnavis will remain the undisputed leader, if the BJP-Sena retains power in the elections. Fadnavis himself is a swayamsevak and very close to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.
According to Deodhar, Sangh activists were told to ensure high voter turnout, mobilise voters to reach the poll booth in time and convince them against using NOTA.
Sudhir Pathak, a sangh worker and senior functionary of Vishwa Samvad Kendra, an RSS communication network, claimed the BJP can easily win more 140 seats on its own, essentially due to RSS’s proactive role in the elections. (In the assembly of 288 members, a party needs 145 for simple majority).
Avinash Sangwai, an RSS swayamsevak, said: “A sizeable section of pro-BJP voters are annoyed with the party for favouring outsiders. Such leaders will be a liability for the party in the coming days.”
Former resident editor of Tarun Bharat, a RSS mouthpiece, Vinod Deshmukh said the recent switching over of senior leaders from the Opposition camp to the BJP has demoralised the opposition, and would reap dividends for the saffron party.
According to RSS insiders, the organisation had conducted a survey for each constituency and later recommended the names of probable winning candidates to the general secretary (organisation) for consideration. The organisation secretary is a man from the RSS, deputed for the party. A senior RSS functionary is usually deputed as the organising secretary in the party and now the state organising secretary, Vijay Puranik, a full-time RSS pracharak, is supervising the campaigning with the help of regional organising secretaries of the party. All these regional organising secretaries are from the RSS
“The RSS is a big strength for the BJP from the Jansangh days,” said lawyer Prakash Meghe.
Maharashtra state general secretary (organisation) Ravindra Bhusari was one of the few important people who led the BJP campaign in the state during the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
The RSS has also supported Fadnavis’s plan to break the NCP’s “monopoly”on Maratha community and its leader Sharad Pawar in western Maharashtra by including King Shivaji’s descendants former Satara MP Udayanraje Bhonsale and his cousin Satara MLA Shivendrasinh Bhonsale as well as prominent Maratha leaders such as Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil and Harshavardhan Patil into the party fold.
The RSS supported the move to put forth Chandrakant Patil, state BJP chief, as party’s Maratha face. Patil, an ex-pracharak of the RSS, with the help of its organising secretary Puranik, succeeded to rope in RSS activists for campaigning.
Pramod Mankar, a rights’ activist from Nagpur, said. “If the RSS is an apolitical organization, which it claims, then why are they campaigning for the BJP?”
Surendra Rajput, a Congress spokesman, who is supervising the media cell, said, “Everybody knows that the ruling BJP is implementing the ideology and agenda of the Sangh.”