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RSS is an Organisation of Patriots, Not just Govt Workers Every Citizen Can Attend its Meetings: Shivraj Chouhan

Congress in its manifesto said it will put a ban on the use of government buildings for RSS meetings and a relaxation earlier extended to the government staffers for taking part in RSS activities will be revoked.

Vivek Trivedi | News18

Updated:November 12, 2018, 10:08 PM IST
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RSS is an Organisation of Patriots, Not just Govt Workers Every Citizen Can Attend its Meetings: Shivraj Chouhan
File Photo of former Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
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Bhopal: The controversy over Congress's proposed ban on holding RSS shakhas on government premises and stopping government staffers from attending those has raised the hackles of the ruling BJP in the poll-bound state.

Jumping into the war of words, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday called the RSS an organisation of patriots. “Not only government employees, any citizen can attend RSS shakha. RSS is a nationalist organisation,” Chouhan said while addressing a public meeting in MP.

It was Chouhan who, in 2006, had lifted the ban on government employees and officers attending RSS shakhas. “I had relaxed the norm that prevented government workers from taking part in RSS meetings and this respite would continue in the future,” he said.

Congress in its manifesto released on Sunday said party will put a ban on the use of government buildings for RSS meetings and a relaxation earlier extended to the government staffers for taking part in RSS activities will be revoked.

In the past, the Rahul Gandhi-led party had approached the Election Commission with a plea that government workers affiliated with RSS should not be deployed for poll duties to maintain fairness and transparency.

The Congress’s proposal seems to have backfired as the BJP in no time grabbed highlighted the move as Congress’s conspiracy to ban the RSS in MP and other states.

BJP MP Anurag Thakur, who was in Indore on Monday, said: “Even Rahul Gandhi’s ancestors could not ban RSS … so these rajas and maharajas won’t be able to do it now.”

Congress has been on the back foot and issuing clarifications on the issue. The latest came from MPCC chief Kamal Nath. “The BJP is trying to put their words in our mouth, giving an impression that we have announced a ban on the RSS,” Nath said on Monday, adding: “We have clearly stated in the manifesto that RSS won’t be allowed to run shakhas from government buildings and the Congress would quash the order allowing government staffers to take part in RSS shakhas.”

Nath claimed that the party only wants to keep away politics and whether the RSS is a political organisation or not will be decided by the public. The Congress is also maintaining that states besides the Centre also hasn’t lifted the ban on participation in RSS shakhas.

RSS has seen rapid growth in its MP operations post 2003 when the BJP came to power in the state. Through its three administrative regions -- Malwa, Madhya Bharat and Mahakaushal, Sangh activities have grown with a sizable increase in its membership.
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