New Delhi: The RSS seems to have made a complete volte-face on its stand on gay rights, now saying it doesn't believe homosexuality should be criminalised. RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said at an event in the capital, "I don't think homosexuality should be considered a criminal offence as long as it does not affect the lives of others in society."
"Sexual preferences are private and personal. Why should RSS express its views in a public forum? RSS has no view on that. It is for people to have their way. Personal preference of sex is not discussed in RSS and we don't even want to discuss that," he said, clearly not deviating from the script, which demands all Sangh members condemn homosexuality, ideally terming it a 'disease'.
The RSS also admitted to sending "signals" to the BJP-led government at the Centre, but dismissed suggestions it used a "remote control". It also said that it has a right to give suggestions to the government like any other organisation in a democracy and is proud to have produced two prime ministers — Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi.
"There is no control, but certainly remote is there. Remote is there, signal is there. RSS is not having any remote control on BJP or any other political party," Hosabale said.
"RSS swayamsevaks are working actively and are participants in BJP. BJP also subscribes to certain views and ideology of RSS and the inspiration they take in public life. If family members come to RSS for suggestions, is it remote control or affection? There is no complaint from BJP and there is no wish from RSS," he added.
Asked if RSS was an "extra-constitutional authority" in the present government, he said, "Where is the extra-constitutional authority? We are not doing any hide and seek. Presentations at RSS meetings are not wrong. If they make presentations before RSS, they can make presentations before this conclave. It is a democracy. We have every right to make suggestions to any government."
Rejecting criticism that RSS gave diktats to the Modi government, he said RSS swayamsevaks are working actively in BJP and they are like "family members".
Hosabale said that in a democracy, the RSS can make suggestions to any government of the day, be it BJP or Congress, even though Congress will not listen to them. "We are proud that RSS has produced two prime ministers. Both are listening to the voice of the people," he said.
"Vajpayee also listened and Modi also is listening. But listening does not mean he is heeding (to) it. We are proud. I wish Vajpayee also had the opportunity to become prime minister at Modi's age," the RSS leader said. He said, "We wanted that a budget of this kind should come. We had also suggested to Congress."
Asked if RSS has asked for a temple, Hosabale said, "We have asked for a mandir at Ayodhya. That is our dream. It is the wish of the people. It is for the country and government to take up the issue. We are hopeful. We are also confident that they will also fulfil the aspirations of people. They have included it in their manifesto."