RSS never opposed reservation, says Mohan Bhagwat

The organisation believed reservation should continue as long as it was necessary for those who needed it, provided it was for reasons of backwardness and lack of parity in terms of their living or social standing, the RSS chief said

April 28, 2024 07:39 pm | Updated 10:10 pm IST - New Delhi

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat. File

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat. File | Photo Credit: ANI

Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday said the Sangh had never opposed reservation given to certain groups, and maintained that the video making the rounds on social media, in which he is seen speaking against quotas in a meeting, is fake.

Mr. Bhagwat’s denial came amid a war of words between the BJP and the Congress in the ongoing General Election campaigning as Opposition parties are claiming that the BJP, if it returned to power for the third time, would rewrite the Constitution and do away with the reservation policy.

“A video is being circulated on social media platforms claiming that the [Rashtriya Swayamsevak] Sangh is against reservation.... and that we can’t say this in open. I am visible taking a meeting in the video.... I say that the video is fake and that I have never said this,” Mr. Bhagwat said while speaking at the opening of a Vidya Bharati Vignana Kendra school in Hyderabad.

He also clarified that the RSS had always stood for reservation, as sanctioned and guaranteed under the Constitution, and that the organisation believed reservation should continue as long as it was necessary for those who needed it, provided it was for reasons of backwardness and lack of parity in terms of their living or social standing.

“Reservation should remain in place as long as discriminations are not eliminated,” he added.

Calling out those behind the video, Mr. Bhagwat said there was a section of people in society who only misused technology and vidya (education).

Mr. Bhagwat’s statement came days after Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy had said that if the BJP secured 400 seats, it would rehash the Indian Constitution to make India a country without reservation for any caste.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has also recently accused the BJP and the RSS of attempting to destroy the country’s diversity.

This is not the first time the RSS’ top brass have come forward in support of reservation.

In September 2023, Mr. Bhagwat had said that reservation should continue as long as there was discrimination in society. “We kept our own fellow human beings behind in the social system. We did not care for them and it continued for 2,000 years. Until we provide them equality, some special remedies have to be there, and reservation is one of them,” he had said.

In his annual Dussera speech, for several years, Mr. Bhagwat has maintained that the need for reservation still persists. However, weeks before the Bihar Assembly election in 2015, Mr. Bhagwat had said that there should be a “review of the reservation policy”, and the statement had stirred controversy.

The RSS’ highest decision-making body, the Akhil Bharatiya Poratinidhi Sabha (ABPS), in 1981 had said that the policy of reservation had, because of its wrong implementation, become a tool of power politics and election tactics instead of serving the purpose for which it had been framed, and that this had resulted in generating mutual ill-will and conflict in several parts of the country. “The RSS therefore suggests the constituting of a committee of non-partisan social thinkers, which will study in depth all the problems arising out of reservations and suggest positive steps for the uplift of Harijans and tribals,” the ABPS statement had said.

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