Lok Sabha elections 2019: BJP banks on RSS to amplify Modi factor in HP campaign
The RSS had 15,000 members in 2014 and now has more than five lakh. Earlier, the organisation deployed senior pracharaks at the district level but now the average age of zila pracharaks is 35 years.Updated: Apr 27, 2019 11:25 IST
The BJP is counting on the grassroots network of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), its ideological parent organisation, to amplify the Narendra Modi factor in Himachal Pradesh. The RSS has grown exponentially in the state from 300 shakhas (branches) five years ago to 970 today.
The saffron organisation has spread its wings exponentially in the last five years from 300 ‘shakhas’ to 900 plus as of now.
At least 150 shakhas came up in the state after the BJP government led by Jai Ram Thakur assumed office in December 2017.
The RSS had 15,000 members in 2014 and now has more than five lakh. Earlier, the organisation deployed senior pracharaks at the district level but now the average age of zila pracharaks is 35 years.
The state unit was set up in 1940 and can boast of shakhas in far-flung areas, including Kaza village in Lahaul and Spiti district. The state unit, however, downplays the organisation’s growth. “The RSS is a nationalist organisation with no political role. We focus more on shakhas for our daily drill besides other activities. Such shakhas are organised in every state with Hindu population,” says Veer Singh Rangra, the prant sarsanghchalak who is a professor in the physics department of Himachal Pradesh University.
Thakur’s opponents and rival parties accuse the RSS of controlling the chief minister’s office, a charge the CM denies. He refutes such allegations, saying: “My office runs independently and the RSS has no role to play in it.”
First Published: Apr 27, 2019 11:22 IST