A day at the RSS shakhahttps://indianexpress.com/photos/picture-gallery-others/a-day-at-the-rss-shakha/

A day at the RSS shakha

For the first time, RSS is openly rallying behind BJP in an election.

It’s not ‘Namo Namo’ but, for the first time, RSS is openly rallying behind BJP in an election. Shyamlal Yadav visits three shakhas in UP to get an idea of the plan worked out to mobilise cadre for the BJP “in national interest”.(IE Photo: Praveen Khanna)

With his back to an ochre-red swallowtail flag, Prabhu Narayan Srivastav, a retired engineer of the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd, addresses a motley group of about 20, most of them in flared khaki shorts and white shirts. (IE Photo: Praveen Khanna)

This is a routine morning shakha of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at Triveni Nagar in Lucknow, but the swayamsevaks know Srivastav, sanghachalak of the Awadh unit, is preparing them for something unusual. (IE Photo: Praveen Khanna)

“Our sarsanghachalakji (RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat) has told us to work for the nation and not worry about who will become the prime minister. Our job is not to chant Namo Namo. Ham kisi vyakti ki jai jaikaar nahi karte (we don’t hail any particular individual). In the interest of the nation, we will go door to door and ensure that people turn out to vote,” Srivastav tells the group. (IE Photo: Praveen Khanna)

At the RSS’s annual Vijayadashmi meeting in October last year, Bhagwat had talked about ensuring “100 per cent polling”. (IE Photo: Praveen Khanna)

“To discharge our responsibility as voters, first and foremost, we have to ensure that our names properly figure in the voter list. Hundred per cent polling will make democracy healthier.” (IE Photo: Praveen Khanna)

With the country heading for a daggers drawn election, the RSS, which has so far remained content pulling the BJP’s strings, is now shedding its reticence and coming out openly to rally behind the BJP “in national interest”. The organisation, known for its committed cadre base, is galvanising its members into action, getting them to reach out to potential BJP voters and ensure they reach the booth on election day. (IE Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Shailendra, a swayamsevak at the Triveni Nagar shakha, says, “Other than Sharad Pawar’s idea (of wiping off the indelible ink and voting again), we will do everything to increase the voting percentage.” (IE Photo: Praveen Khanna)