THE growing clout and spreading footprint of the Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) ever since its patron and founder Yogi Adityanath became Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has set off ripples in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and a section of the BJP.
Sources have told The Indian Express that the RSS top brass is believed to have conveyed to Adityanath their reservations regarding an organisation (read HYV), on the ground, that runs “parallel” to both the RSS and the BJP. More so, when several complaints have come from across the state against aggressive HYV workers flexing their political — and, in some cases, physical — muscles in several “communal” incidents over the past two months.
Even the Opposition parties have been vocal in their complaints about activists wearing saffron scarves harassing people in the name of Hindutva and cow vigilantism. RSS and BJP leaders said that they are worried over the kind of impact the HYV show of strength might have on the image of the state government, particularly when the BJP has come to power after 15 years and Lok Sabha elections are just two years away, sources said.
Founded in 2002, HYV has the image of an aggressive pro-Hindutva organisation that claims to work for Hindu culture, cow protection and against untouchability. So far, HYV’s activities were confined to Gorakhpur and adjoining districts.
In the run-up to the recent Assembly elections, Adityanath sacked HYV state president Sunil Singh after the latter announced he would field candidates against the BJP. Soon after Adityanath was sworn in as CM, Rakesh Rai was appointed HYV’s new state president and P K Mall as state organisation secretary with a plan to expand HYV in other parts of the state including western UP.
When asked about the RSS’s reservations, Mall said: “This is not in my knowledge. HYV is a social and cultural organisation associated with Gorakhnath Peeth just like various other organisations run by the peeth. No one should have any objections over it.”
Last month in Gorakhpur, Adityanath held separate meetings with HYV and RSS workers. He reportedly urged HYV to maintain “decency,” not misuse saffron as the party’s colour, monitor government work and flag any discrepancies to their colleagues in HYV — not misbehave with any officer.
He is said to have told the HYV that any “indecent or illegal” act by someone in a saffron scarf could end up hurting the image of the organisation or the BJP.
As reported by The Indian Express earlier, after Adityanath took charge as CM, HYV has seen a record surge in applications — from an average of 500-1000 applications every month until February to about 5,000 applications per day.
In the face of this flood, a circular was issued from HYV’s Gorakhpur headquarters stating: “A lot of people want to join the organisation with a strategy to defame it and, hence, activities as well as background of new applicants must be checked. After induction, a newcomer will be given a post in the organisation only after working as an ordinary worker for at least six months.”
Not just the issue of HYV, sources said, the RSS has also questioned Adityanath’s frequent advisories to the BJP and other RSS affiliates (like VHP or Bajrang Dal) about not taking the law in their hands. Sources said that RSS pointed out that such advisories from public fora were sending a signal of rampant indiscipline among RSS or BJP workers. Sources said RSS raised these issues with the CM during a meeting called at a hotel in Lucknow today ostensibly to improve coordination between the state government, BJP and RSS’s other offshoots.
RSS’s Krishnagopal, BJP national general secretary (organisation) Ramlal, party state general secretary (organisation) Sunil Bansal, both deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma were present at the meeting which was attended by RSS pracharaks and functionaries from across the state.
Sources said that a prant pracharak in the meeting complained that leaders of parties and organisations other than RSS offshoots and BJP were given space in government committees in corporations and boards. Sources said that CM was asked to “adjust” eligible and dedicated workers of RSS offshoots and from the BJP.
Sources said the CM assured those present that he would look into the suggestions raised at the meeting.
When asked about RSS’s advice to Adityanath regarding the HYV, RSS’s Manmohan Vaidya said, “I am not aware of this.” A similar coordination meeting between top RSS functionaries, government and the BJP was held at CM’s residence last month.