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RSS invites Dalit leader as chief guest for its Dussehra function in Nagpur

Union minister Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will also attend the RSS Dussehra event.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2017 19:29 IST
Pradip Maitra
Pradip Maitra
Nagpur, Hindustan Times
RSS,Dalit leader,Chief guest
Dussehra or Vijayadashmi is observed on a major scale by the RSS. It is the day the RSS chief addresses its members from Nagpur’s Reshimbagh Ground. (File)

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological mentor and Hindutva fountainhead – the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – has invited Sant Nirmal Das Maharaj, a Dalit Sikh religious leader from Jalandhar, as the chief guest for its annual Vijayadashami function in Nagpur on October 30.

The Vijayadashami function is one of the most important events in the RSS annual calendar and inviting Sant Nirmal Das, the chief of Sri Guru Ravidass Sadhu sect of Punjab, to the event is being viewed as RSS’s effort to consolidate the Dalit votebank.

The RSS chief, during the event, expresses his views on the present political scenario and the role of the organisation.

Dass also heads the Sant Protam Dass Dera (Babe Jaure) whose followers include the Ravidassia community and Jat Sikhs.

The Dussehra function is significant for both the RSS and the Dalit movement.

The saffron organisation was formed on this day in 1925 by Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, while the architect of Indian constitution and Dalit icon Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism, along with his Dalit supporters, on this day in Nagpur’s Deekshabhoomi in 1956.

The RSS, for the first time in its 90-odd year history, is inviting a Dalit religious leader for its customary Vijaydashami gathering.

The RSS had on Sunday invited a Muslim homeopath, Munawar Yusuf, as the chief guest for its annual Shastra Puja function held for its children wing.

Both Nirmal Das and Yusuf are not linked to the RSS.

Union minister Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will also attend the RSS Dussehra event, said a RSS functionary.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Sep 28, 2017 19:26 IST