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Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi gets fourth term as RSS general secretary

The Sangh’s general secretary is its executive head who looks after the day-to-day affairs of the organisation.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2018 22:21 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
RSS,RSS general secretary,Bhaiyyaji Joshi
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi at RSS meeting at Singapur Township, Annojiguda near Hyderabad.(PTI File Photo)

Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi on Saturday won a fourth consecutive term as general secretary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), ending speculation about a rejig of the organisation’s top brass ahead of the 2019 general election.

The announcement was made at the ongoing Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, a meeting of the highest decision-making body of the Sangh.

Joshi, 70, who is next only to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in the organisation’s hierarchy, has been holding the position of general secretary since 2009.

He is known for his organisational skills and deft handling of the peculiarities of the RSS-BJP equation, and his re-election has allayed concerns that the RSS would play second fiddle to the BJP as it prepares for the electoral challenges ahead, an RSS functionary said on condition of anonymity.

Although the RSS denies its involvement in electoral politics, its cadre comes out in full force at election time and is engaged in activities ranging from helping prepare details of voters to conducting door-to-door meetings with them to help the BJP.

The functionary cited above also said Joshi’s re-election to a fourth three-year term is an indication that the cadre wants him to navigate the intricacies

of RSS-BJP ties and not allow the ruling party’s electoral concerns to dilute the ideology of the Sangh or to put its demands on hold.

Although the RSS-BJP equation under Bhagwat and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has largely been synergetic, there are some affiliates such as

the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and the Swadeshi Jagran Manch that have taken on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government over some of its economic policies.

Hardline affiliates such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad want the government to build a Ram Temple on the disputed site in Ayodhya through an act of Parliament instead of waiting for a Supreme Court verdict.

Another senior functionary of the Sangh, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the consensus within the organisation was to allow Joshi, who “shares a good rapport” with the current BJP dispensation, to remain in the position, and to allow him to oversee preparations for the Sangh’s expansion as well as coordination with its various affiliates.

Joshi is expected to announce changes to his team at the national as well as regional level over the next few days.

There had been speculation that current joint secretary Dattatreya Hosable, perceived as closer to Modi than Joshi, would become the general secretary.

“The RSS led by Mohan Bhagwat and Bhaiyyaji Joshi and the BJP by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah has proved to be a winning combination; there was no need to make changes, especially when the BJP is fighting to return to power with a majority,” the second functionary cited above said.

First Published: Mar 10, 2018 18:49 IST