Move over Nagpur, Bhopal is the new hub of Sangh action
This will be the first major interactive session of the office-bearers of the RSS and the BJP after the formation of the NDA government long term plans for the organisation would form the core agenda.
Bhopal: With an eye on pan-India reach the RSS has virtually turned Bhopal into its operational headquarters. While Nagpur remains the ideological fount for the organisation all real activity seem to be happening in what the Sangh Paraivar calls the Madhya Bharat Prant. That the parivar has had more consistent success in Madhya Pradesh in recent times compared to Maharashtra makes it the hub of attraction.
Nagpur took fifty years to send its first BJP member to the Lok Sabha - in 1996 - despite being the ideological source for the party. Banwarilal Purohit who was elected on the BJP ticket was till then the Congress MP from the constituency. The previous head of the organisation KS Sudarshan had taken a fancy for Bhopal and had envisaged plans to turn Bhopal into a centre to work for the parivar’s expansion plans. His successor Mohan Bhagwat has found the logistical support of the BJP government suited to realise Sudarshan’s dream.
With its logistical advantage as a well-connected railhead Bhopal has hosted a number of conferences of the Sangh leaders. Other towns of the state have effectively complemented the effort. The famous Jain pilgrimage centre Mohankheda had hosted a Sangh session just a fortnight ago. Bhopal is now hosting the Chintan Shivir, the annual conference of the Sangh national executive and its affiliates like Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad, Vishwa Hindu Partishad and Swadeshi Jagran Manch. The conference which began on Wednesday is also expected to discuss its coordination with the BJP. Although the deliberations would be mostly on ideological plane but they would define the BJP’s direction on domestic and foreign policy.
Since this will be the first major interactive session of the office-bearers of the RSS and the BJP after the formation of the NDA government long term plans for the organisation would form the core agenda. The new BJP president, Amit Shah, might make his first appearance since his appointment in the RSS programme. The BJP is expected to get the parent body’s clearance for various appointments to the organisation. As is the practice with the Sangh the media would be barred from the sessions. A spokesperson for the organisation, Hemant Muktibodh says there will be no verbal briefing a press-note on the day’s proceedings would be issued every day. In a spot of trouble after the Professional Examination Board (PEB) scam, Chief Minister Singh Chouhan is expected to make the most of the occasion to draw support from the parent organisation.
Incidentally, the RSS has been involved in more controversies in Madhya Pradesh than in other states. Suresh Soni the RSS point person to monitor the BJP activities has been named in the PEB scandal which has been rocking the state for more than a year now. Chouhan was conveyed the Sangh’s displeasure over the RSS office-bearers’ name being dragged into the controversy. Some corrupt party officials are hiding behind the Sangh’s umbrella, a party official had said.
Another view is that the Sangh must keep reshuffling its office-bearers in various states to prevent them from developing vested interests. Soni who called the shots in Madhya Pradesh for many years was packed off after he was seen participating in the factional fights of the BJP. Soni arrived in Bhopal a day before the RSS executive meeting to for a marathon discussion with the chief minister. Mining Baron Sudhir Sharma, who was arrested after a six-week hide-and-seek game with the Special Task Force (STF) of the state police, is considered to be a close associate of Soni.
Earlier, Soni had been summoned to the Sangh headquarters at Nagpur to explain his position after some accused in the scam named him for referring some candidates for fraudulent selection in state services. Interestingly, the STF had issued a statement to clear the names of RSS functionaries after the Soni’s Nagpur visit. This proved to be counter-productive as the Congress was able to prove the STF was pressured by the government and a CBI inquiry would be in order.
Mihir Kumar Chaudhary, a former aide of K Sudarshan who was released on bail after spending 10 days in jail is reported to have recorded a statement before the police saying he had sought the late RSS chief’s help to clear a recruitment examination and got the job with the help of then technical education minister Laxmikant Sharma. Soni calls it a conspiracy by his adversaries but refuses to name them.
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