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Why RSS changed its stand on reservation

Mohan Bhagwat’s statement on reservation has reportedly cost the BJP in the Bihar Assembly election and that is one reason for this clarification from the RSS.

Written by Shyamlal Yadav |
November 3, 2015 1:22:40 pm
RSS, reservations, india, politics, bjp To make itself more acceptable, the RSS has started changing several of its stands. (Express Photo by Sudarshan Sakharkar)

RSS sarkaryawah Suresh Bhaiya ji Joshi has clarified at the RSS meeting in Ranchi last weekend that, “Reservation can continue as long as it is needed in society. That’s our stand… Whatever was said (by Bhagwat) was not presented in proper words. Nowhere was it said that there should be a review of the reservation policy. It is compulsory for society.”

This is a clear departure from the saffron organisation’s earlier approach to reservation – it had demanded a review of the reservation policy by a committee of non-partisan people. At least twice, first in 1981 at the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha and again in 1985 at the Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal, the RSS had passed resolutions in this regard – a stand repeated by the current sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat in his interview to Panchajanya and Organiser in September.

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Bhagwat’s statement on reservation has reportedly cost the BJP in the Bihar Assembly election and that is one reason for this clarification from the RSS. It is worth noting, however, that this change of approach on reservation was stated by Joshi only at a press conference and no resolution was passed to withdraw its earlier stand.

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The organisation seems to have realised that by virtually being in government is entirely different from being in the opposition as every word of RSS leaders is now noted and taken seriously by political opponents, the media and the public.

To make itself more acceptable, the RSS has started changing several of its stands. Its leaders are silent on issues like the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Article-370 and the common civil code after the BJP came to power. Instead, their swayamsewaks are being asked to involve themselves in social activities like tree plantation, water conservation, cleanliness drives.

The RSS seems to have realised that after five years the people will judge the present government on good governance and developmental work and that it does not need burning and controversial issues to overshadow those. They have realised that their earlier stand on the reservation issue helped revive their opponents and to convince the non-upper caste Hindus that it (RSS) is against them.

Bhagwat has said on several occasions at RSS closed door meetings that everything (in the RSS) can be changed except its core belief. With a BJP majority government at the Cente, it seems, change will come faster than he might have expected.

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