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With appointment of interim chief, drama over ‘takeover’ of Sarva Seva Sangh ends, for now

The committee has appointed Kolkata-based Sarvoday leader Chandan Pal in the place of Mahadev Vidrohi as interim president, till a new panel gets elected in the election the Sangh plans to hold in December.

Written by Vivek Deshpande | Nagpur | September 26, 2020 11:57:46 pm
Sarva Seva Sangh, SSS takeover, Sangh president, Nagpur news, Maharashtra news, Indian express newsVidrohi, however, vowed to “fight a legal battle against the unauthorised takeover of Sangh." (GandhiSevagramAshram.org)

After prolonged wrangling within its ranks over control and command, the Sarva Seva Sangh (SSS) office at Sevagram saw a new president take over its reins, with “ousted” president Mahadev Vidrohi withdrawing himself from the tug-of-war.

Vidrohi, however, vowed to “fight a legal battle against the unauthorised takeover of Sangh.”

The calm prevailed only after a last-ditch effort to hold on to his office by Vidrohi, who had already been “ousted” by the Sangh working committee in an unanimous decision during a meeting on Wednesday. The committee has appointed Kolkata-based Sarvoday leader Chandan Pal in his place as interim president, till a new panel gets elected in the election the Sangh plans to hold in December.

Vidrohi, whose second term as Sangh president ended on March 31, had termed his ouster illegal and said that he won’t allow an “illegal president” to enter his office.

Resentment had been brewing against Vidrohi from early this year when he started removing many senior Gandhians from their positions, including Sevagram Ashram president T R N Prabhu, then Sangh general secretary Chandan Pal and Sangh managing trustee Ashok Sharan. Prabhu was later exhorted by many Gandhians to continue as Ashram chief and he had accordingly resumed charge.

Vidrohi had termed Prabhu’s act of denying permission to the Congress Working Committee — to hold its meeting at the Ashram on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi — as “Godsewadi”.

A drama unfolded at the Sangh guest house on Thursday when Vidrohi went there to find that it was locked. “We had informed the police that some problem might occur. He broke the lock, put some belongings inside, and put a new lock before leaving the place,” said Avinash Kakde, a nominated member of the working committee, who was “removed” by Vidrohi in December 2019.

“We sent a guard there. Vidrohi came again along with some persons. I also reached the spot and an argument ensued. Subsequently, he left with his friends,” he said.

Meanwhile, interim president Chandan Pal assumed office on Saturday. He also attended a meeting called by the Wardha collector about a programme to mark Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, along with other working committee members.

“My top priority would be to hold elections for the new Sangh body by December,” Pal told The Indian Express. ” We have to take the thoughts of Gandhi and Vinoba to the masses and I will strive to do that, ” he added.

Vidrohi, however, alleged, “Kakde posted a drunk bully with a stick at the guest house to scare me when I had gone there. What they have done is a criminal offence. I have lodged a police complaint and I am returning to Ahmedabad. But I will continue to fight a legal battle against this unauthorised takeover of the Sangh.”

Vidrohi earlier also addressed a press conference at Wardha, leveling allegations against the Kakde-led group, claiming that it was eyeing Sangh’s land in Wardha worth several crores, and the turn of events during the last few months was a result of that.

Kakde responded, “Vidrohi had been holding key positions in the Sangh for 12 long years. How come he allowed me to do all that he now alleges I have done.”

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