NATIONAL

Sangh Parivar looks forward to renewing unity

"RSS hopes that the attack will be an eye-opener "

Venkitesh Ramakrishnan

SURAT: The three-day conclave of the pranth pracharaks (State organisers) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) concluded here on Tuesday amid expectations that the "terrorist attack" on the "makeshift" Ram temple at Ayodhya would forge a renewed unity and commitment in favour of the Hindutva cause among the various outfits of the Sangh Parivar.

Talking to The Hindu on the last day of the closed-door meet, a senior leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), who was part of the deliberations, said the RSS leadership hoped that the attack would "once and for all open the eyes of those sections of the Sangh Parivar which were deviating from the basic Hindutva ideology to make temporary political gains."

He said there was a clear understanding at the conclave that the fundamental task of the Sangh Parivar constituents was to protect the nation and national interest from the attack of the forces of Islamic terrorism and minority appeasement. "Tuesday's attack in Ayodhya," he said, "doubly reinforced that understanding."

"BJP deviations"

This summing up, according to sources in the Sangh Parivar, was especially relevant in terms of the deliberations at the meeting.

A dominant issue in the discussions was the "deviations" of the leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Parivar's political arm, from the Hindutva ideology. The conclave specifically discussed the "deviations" in the context of the pronouncements made by BJP president Lal Krishna Advani during and after his recent Pakistan visit, including his praise for the "secular vision" of Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

But there was no official word after the conclave as to what concrete measures the RSS, as leader of the Sangh Parivar, would evolve to carry out the "well delineated" fundamental task. "

The only formal statement at the conclave was the reaction of the RSS to the Ayodhya attack. Spokesperson Ram Madhav expressed serious concern over "the terrorist strike" and "appealed to the people to register their strong protests in a peaceful manner". He came out of the meeting as soon as news of the attack reached Surat.

Mr. Ram Madhav alleged that Hindu sacred places were not being protected properly and that security was lax even at important religious centres.

"That is why terrorists are able to easily enter and commit heinous crimes in Hindu sacred places."

Togadia blames Pakistan

VHP leader Praveen Togadia also came out of the meet. He held Pakistan, jihadi terrorism and Muslim vote bank politics responsible for the attack. Mr. Togadia said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi should share the blame for the attack and demanded that India discontinue the ongoing dialogue process with Pakistan.

"I have been telling the Government and the Indian Army for over two years that if we don't crush Pakistan's jihadi terrorism in Lahore and Islamabad we will have to fight it in New Delhi and Ayodhya. That's exactly what has happened now."

Sources in the Sangh Parivar said the immediate reaction to the Ayodhya attack from the leadership of the BJP and its call for nationwide protests were noted with satisfaction at the conclave.

"This", said an RSS functionary, "could well become the beginning of a process to get rid of ideological confusions and renewing unity within the Sangh Parivar."

Tight security

A tight security cordon was thrown around the Eklavya Ambedkar Bhavan at Choksi Vadi, the venue of the conclave, as soon as the news of the Ayodhya attack reached Surat.

The district administration deployed commandos and plainclothes personnel.

The security for the conclave on the first two days was provided mainly by uniformed RSS activists.

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