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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Preraks a no-go for Congress, but lessons for the party in RSS structure | Opinion

The Congress was entertaining the idea of Preraks or motivators across the country to “envision, design and deliver” training skills to its workers as part of efforts to scale-up its mass contact programmes following a series of electoral setbacks.

opinion Updated: Sep 13, 2019 14:28 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
New Delhi
A boy walks as volunteers of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) stand before 'Path Sanchalan' (route march) on Vijyadashmi festival at Shukrawar Peth in Pune.
A boy walks as volunteers of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) stand before 'Path Sanchalan' (route march) on Vijyadashmi festival at Shukrawar Peth in Pune.(Pratham Gokhale/HT file photo)
         

The Congress recently toyed with the idea of appointing a group of Preraks - or motivators - across the country to “envision, design and deliver” training skills to its workers, an idea that was immediately shot down by party president Sonia Gandhi. But, the move sent tongues wagging, with many in the political circle saying it was inspired by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s practise of appointing pracharaks - or full time volunteers - to further specific purposes.

Though Preraks are a no go for the Congress, the party can learn these four things from the RSS to revive its fortunes:

1. Power centre: The equation between the RSS and the Bharatiya Janata Party is well laid out. While the BJP is a political party, the RSS, being its ideological mentor, stays away from electoral politics. The moral authority that RSS enjoys is also because its leadership stays out of the BJP. It acts as an arbitrator, but never gets into day-to-day management of the BJP. Keeping a safe distance from the BJP helps the RSS become the conscience keeper of its political arm. Contrary to it, the power centre of the Congress lies within the party.

2. Man-to-man marking: What sets the RSS apart from others is its ‘man-to-man marking’ ability. Much of the success that the RSS has been able to achieve since its inception in 1925 is because it has also been able to connect with individuals. The mass contact programme in the RSS is designed to shake hands with as many people as it can. The shakhas of the RSS have been of great help to the outfit in achieving this.

3. Word of mouth: Much of the RSS campaign is through word of mouth. Though it has been a late entrant on social media platform, its focus still remains on involving its pracharaks to spread a word about campaign and assignments. It has helped the RSS achieve its purpose swiftly and do course corrections with the help of the feedback it receives from its volunteers.

4. Strict no to politics: Politics is strict “no no” for RSS pracharaks. Anyone interested in joining has to give up his role as a full time volunteer of the RSS. This has helped the RSS in addressing the issue of ‘conflict of interest’ that may arise with the overlapping of politics interest and organisational responsibility of its pracharaks. The Congress, on the contrary, has decided to allow its ‘motivators’ aspire for political assignments.

First Published: Sep 13, 2019 09:56 IST