Eye on 2019 Lok Sabha polls, RSS gets active in Uttarakhand | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Eye on 2019 Lok Sabha polls, RSS gets active in Uttarakhand

Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliates have become proactive in Uttarakhand trying to polarise Hindu votes in favour of the ruling BJP

dehradun Updated: Jul 21, 2018 22:18 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
BJP state unit president Ajay Bhatt admitted that Hindutva outfits working for the social upliftment “will certainly bring the ruling party electoral dividends” in the coming general election.(AFP File)

Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliates have become proactive in Uttarakhand trying to polarise Hindu votes in favour of the ruling BJP.

Some Sangh affiliates, in a bid to mobilise Hindu votes in remote areas, have heightened their activities helping farmers in boosting their agri-pastoral economy.

Equally proactive is the publicity wing of the Sangh. It has begun a subtle public relations exercise like holding “introductory interactions” with media persons.

“The idea behind this exercise is to publicise the Sangh ideology and get the public feedback on various schemes initiated by the BJP governments both at the Centre and in the state,” said a RSS worker looking after Prachar Vibhag (publicity wing).

Similarly, some veteran RSS leaders, during their visit to the state, issued statements subtly aimed at polarising the majority Hindu votes in favour of the BJP, analysts say. The BJP won from all the five Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2014 general elections.

During a recent visit to Dehradun, RSS veteran Indresh Kumar held Muslim migrants from Uttar Pradesh responsible for the forced migration from the hills of Uttarakhand.

“Muslim youths from neighbouring states settling in Uttarakhand are capturing livelihood opportunities meant for the locals, which has triggered forced migration from the mountain state,” said Kumar, who is also margdarshak (guide) of Rashtriya Muslim Manch (RMM), a minority wing of the RSS.

The activists of the RSS and its various affiliates seem to have gone a step further trying to polarise the majority Hindu votes. They are trying to effect the polarisation on hot button issues like love jihad, land jihad and cow slaughter.

“In fact, activists of the RSS and its affiliates also keep a watch on the activities of migrant Muslims who come to the hills from neighbouring UP towns for business,” said Nisith Saklani referring to outfits such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal.

“They have been watchful since communal tension gripped Satpuli town last year after a Muslim youth uploaded an offensive picture of the Kedarnath shrine on his Facebook page.”

Similarly, many activists of the right wing outfits have donned the role of cow vigilantes.

“Thanks to the watchfulness of our activists, police recently raided two places in Dehradun and Haridwar and rescued several cows before they were about to be transported for slaughter,” said Kamal Bijalwan, a Bajrang Dal activist.

Later, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat ordered an inquiry into the cow slaughter case reported in Clement Town (Dehradun).

“Similarly, two cases relating to ‘love jihad’ were registered in the city recently after we brought them to the notice of police,” he said referring to the term coined to denote the cases relating to Hindu girls eloping with Muslim boys.

Bijalwan admitted that heightened vigilance on part of the activists of the right wing Hindu outfits on issues such as ‘love jihad’ and cow slaughter “is getting us” the support of the majority Hindu community.

“This turnaround may be slow,” he added, “but will certainly benefit the BJP in the next general elections as the party is identified with the Sangh Parivar.”

BJP state unit president Ajay Bhatt did not comment on the issue. He, however, admitted that Hindutva outfits working for the social upliftment “will certainly bring the ruling party electoral dividends” in the 2019 general election.

First Published: Jul 21, 2018 22:18 IST