Suresh alias Bhaiyyaji Joshi, 70, was re-elected as the RSS Sarkaryawah (general secretary) at the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS) of the organisation in Nagpur on Saturday. With this, Joshi equals the record of most number of tenures – four at a stretch – to be offered to any incumbent in the post.
Earlier, it was V Seshadri who had held the post for 13 years since 1987. Joshi was first chosen Sarkaryawah in 2008 with Mohan Bhagwat taking over as Sarsanghchalak.
Speculations were rife this time too about the possible election of Joshi’s deputy, Sahsarkaryawah Dattatreya Hosbale, as Sarkaryawah (general secretary) as reported by The Indian Express earlier this week. Joshi continues to be the executive head of the organisation.
Joshi was unwell for some time, a reason often cited for his possible replacement. Sangh sources, however, said, “He is now fit and is also undertaking tours across the country. Moreover, he himself hasn’t expressed the wish to step down. Also, he is well within the outer age limit of 75 set by the Sangh for leadership change. So, there was no reason why he would be replaced.”
Sangh doesn’t want to alter the current equilibrium between itself and the BJP ahead of next year’s general elections. “The RSS is planning centenary celebrations in 2025. It wants the BJP to return to power in 2019 to facilitate a smooth passage to 2025. It is true that some Sangh outfits like Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh and Swadeshi Jagran Manch have crossed swords with the Narendra Modi government on some issues. But ABPS is trying to ensure peace among all at least till 2019. Joshi served the job better than anyone else,” a RSS insider said.
Joshi’s name was proposed by Paschim Kheshtra Sanghchalak Jayantibhai Bhadesia and was seconded by Purva Uttar Pradesh Kshetra Sanghchalak Virendra Parakramadityya. Karyawahas (secretaries) from South, Konkan and Assam also supported his name.
The general secretary is expected to elect his team later in the day and a few minor changes or reshuffle are also on the cards.
BJP President Amir Shah, General Secretary Ramlal, VHP President Pravin Togadia and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were among those present at the event today.
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