Eying Dalits and backwards, RSS plans campaign for Hindu unity

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Bhopal, Dec 11: RSS will run a nationwide campaign next year to promote "social harmony" among Hindus apparently with an eye to win over Dalits, tribals and other backward classes, communities which are key to BJP's hopes of wresting power in Uttar Pradesh where elections are due in 2017.

The move also assumes significance in the wake of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Chief Mohan Bhagwat's suggestion that the reservation policy needs to be reviewed - a statement that had boomeranged as it was blamed by many for BJP's drubbing in the recent Assembly polls of caste-ridden Bihar.

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"We are going to hold discussions on 'samajik samrasta' (social harmony) in our shakhas (morning get-together classes) from January 3 to 10 in which all the participants have been asked to be present," RSS Madhya Bharat Pranth Sanghchalak Satish Pimplikar said today.

"The members (volunteers) of the shakhas will spread the Sangh's viewpoint on 'samrasta' in the society thereafter," he said. Besides, on Makar Sankranti (January 14), the RSS will organise lunches in which food stuff of 'til' (sesame seeds) made by different families will be served, he said referring to an apparent symbolic gesture of breaking traditional caste-related restriction that have plagued the society.

"People of different castes including Dalits, creed and languages will sit together and take lunch. By doing so we want to promote samajik samrasta in the Hindu society," he said.

"We will also hold several 'samajik samrasta yajnas' on February 7 in which people of different castes, including Dalits, across the Madhya Bharat Pranth, will participate," he said.

The RSS functionary, however, stressed that "nothing deeper" should be read into this move. It is primarily aimed at Hindu 'samrasta', he said adding that RSS has been promoting harmony among Hindus since decades.

"We are doing this exercise following a decision of our central body. Such functions are going to be organised in our 11 'kshetras' spread across the country. The different pranths of the kshetras will chart out their functions," Pimplikar said.

Meanwhile, the RSS is circulating a Hindi booklet titled 'Sabhi Hindu Sahodar Hai' (all Hindus are siblings), containing its views on 'Hindu samrasta' in Bhopal, Gwalior, Chambal and Narmadapuram revenue divisions of MP which it refers as Madhya Bharat Pranth.

The 32-page booklet praises Dr B R Ambedkar, the architect of Indian Constitution, and contains lectures of former RSS chiefs late Balasaheb Deoras and late M S Golwalkar vehemently opposing untouchability.

The BJP too has been stressing on the legacy of Dalit icon Ambedkar with the Narendra Modi Government marking Constitution Day on November 26 which saw a special two-day discussion in both Houses of Parliament as a tribute to Ambedkar.

In a stunning comeback in Uttar Pradesh, BJP had swept the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in the state, which was mainly attributed to the consolidation of Dalit votes, and the party has been hoping to continue the trend in the 2017 Assembly polls in the politically crucial state.

However, the recent debacle in Bihar Assembly polls despite the fact that it won a major chunk of Lok Sabha seats in the state jolted the party.

PTI 

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