Three-day meeting of the Sangh’s national executive opens in Kerala

A three-day meeting of the national executive of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) opened here on Friday with discussions on issues that would form the “core” of the electoral campaign to help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) come to power in the 2014 general elections.

Discussions on border security and increasing influence of radical elements in Islam are likely to be held in the coming days. The meeting of the all-powerful body of the RSS, being held in Kerala for the first time, will be the last such brainstorming session before next year’s Lok Sabha polls.

After securing the mandate within the BJP to name Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate, the RSS is gearing itself to put its machinery to the best use in the coming general election. According to some RSS functionaries, the Ram Janmabhoomi row and building a temple in Ayodhya could emerge as key issues in the poll campaign. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has already stoked the emotive fire in U.P. by taking up programmes in and around Ayodhya, aggressively taking on the State government and the administration.

Indications are that the RSS, the ideological mentor of the BJP, may mobilise major Sangh Parivar organisations to actively campaign in the 2014 elections, which is being dubbed as a “make or break” effort by the RSS after having fully thrown its weight behind Narendra Modi. It was at the insistence of the RSS that Dr. Harsh Vardhan was named the BJP’s Delhi chief ministerial candidate, dumping Vijay Goel, who was being projected as the party’s face in Delhi where assembly polls are scheduled for the first week of December.

BJP president Rajnath Singh arrived in Kochi on Wednesday and left after consultations with party leaders and RSS top brass. He also visited the venue of the RSS meeting at its State headquarters “Bhaskareeyam’’ at Elamakkara in the heart of the city. The rain-soaked grounds of the Saraswati Vidya Niketan Senior Secondary School, run by the education wing of the RSS here, were decorated with saffron flags and flowers to welcome the delegates.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat inaugurated the meeting of the national executive in the newly built auditorium by lighting the ceremonial lamp. Some 400 senior functionaries from across the country are attending the meet. RSS general secretary Suresh (Bhaiyaji) Joshi presided.

A report presented at Friday’s session noted that the number of RSS “shakhas’’ (branches) in the country had risen to 1,000 and attributed the increase to the participation of youth at the college level. State-wise activities of the RSS were also reviewed. “Issues related to the increase in the number of radical elements in the Muslim community were discussed at the meeting,’’ a statement by the Vishwa Samvad Kendra, said.

RSS All-India Prachar Pramukh Dr. Manmohan Vaidya had told journalists on Thursday that environmental degradation in the name of development and border security would be discussed. “We need to have a firm policy to secure the borders. The condition of the people in border areas is very pathetic. They do not have infrastructure facility,” Dr. Vaidya said.

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