Newly appointed Goa RSS chief, Laxman Behre on Monday criticised Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for ‘mishandling’ the Medium of Instruction (MOI) issue, over which regional language crusader and former state head of Sangh Subhash Velingkar broke ranks and floated a parallel outfit recently.
“Parrikar has been successful as a politician. That is why he was inducted as Defence Minister. But he did not handle the MOI issue properly (when he was chief minister),” Behre told PTI at Ponda town on Monday.
“He should have handled the MOI issue properly, soon after taking over the reins during the first session of Goa Legislative Assembly itself,” he said.
Behre, however, was quick to add that Parrikar remains to be a Swayamsevak.
“Once you attend the Shakha and sing prayers, you become a Swayamsevak. He can now come to any Shakha, if he wishes to. We will not force him to come to Shakha,” Behre said.
He said the Sangh does not ask its Swayamsevaks to vote for any political party, not even the BJP.
“Let BJP work on its own. Sangh will not ask its workers to vote for any particular party. We have not issued any such instructions even in the past. What we tell the workers is to ensure 100 per cent voting, and elect a good person. Sangh treats all political parties at par,” Behre stated.
He said the decision of Sangh to “relieve” Velingkar was to allow him work more vigorously for the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch.
“Velingkar was relieved from the post because he should be working with more vigourously for BBSM,” Behre said.
“After that decision, the post remained vacant. In Sangh we have a system wherein we will have to listen to what the seniors say. They gave me the responsibility, which I accepted,” said Behre, who has a 47 years of association with the outfit and was Secretary for its Keshav Seva Sadhana.
He said the Sangh and “RSS Goa Prant” floated by Velingkar has “no differences of opinion”.
“We have no differences of opinion with them. Whatever differences we have are temporary,” Behre said recalling Velingkar’s statement that they would be merging with RSS after Goa elections and work unitedly.
“Sangh completely supports BBSM and their demand on MOI. But Sangh has a rule that an office bearer should not get into politics or should not play a role clashing with the ruling party,” he said, adding that Sangh had no interest in BBSM’s decision to float a new political party.
“Mother tongue as MOI is a demand of common people, and they (the BJP government in the state) should fulfill it as they are running the government from the taxes paid by common man,” Behre said.
Velingkar was “relieved” as Goa RSS chief on August 31 after BBSM hinted at its intent to launch a political party to take on BJP in the 2017 Goa Assembly polls.
His supporters had detached themselves from the RSS’ Konkan prant, and had formed the ‘Goa prant’, which the RSS leadership had refused to recognise.
He has been spearheading a hectic campaign for the primacy of regional languages like Konkani and Marathi as MOI in schools and wanted the BJP government to stop support to English medium schools.
Velingkar has locked horns with the BJP government headed by Laxmikant Parsekar over the issue, with members of his outfit even showing black flags to party chief Amit Shah during a recent visit to the state.
He recently said the “Sangh unit” in the coastal state will function “independently”, at least till the Assembly polls.
However, RSS had been quick to debunk him, saying none of its units can dissociate itself from the outfit.