New Delhi: Underlying that there are people close to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in every political party with whom it maintains regular contacts, author and writer Shridhar Damle said the Congress party always had the most number of Hindutva minded people.
"The Congress as a political outfit has had the most number of the Hindutva-minded people. The RSS has always established contact and remained in touch with people from all political parties. The RSS inviting non-Sangh people is not a new phenomenon", Damle, who has co-authored the book ‘RSS: A View to the Inside’ with Walter Anderson, said while talking to CNN News 18.
"Even after Independence, they used to invite Congress leaders like KM Munshi, Gangarao Deshpande and S Radhakrishnan to their functions. As per my knowledge, Balasahed Desai, the right-hand man of Yashwantrao Chavan (Maharashtra’s first Chief Minister) also accepted RSS invitation, despite being a popular Congress leader", he said in reply to a question why RSS invited Pranab Mukherjj, senior Congress leader and former President of India, to RSS headquarters.
"The RSS had established contact with Mukherjee back in 1984 through Vajpayee and Advani. Vajpayee always remained in touch with him before, during and after his tenures as prime minister. Mukherjee had invited Bhagwatji to the President’s House and Bhagwatji would visit Mukherjee every time he visited Kolkata", he added.
"Rajiv Gandhi met Bhaurao Deoras at least six times. The RSS was in touch with Narasimha Rao since 1938 when he was rusticated from Osmania University for singing Vande Mataram. He was taken in by Nagpur University and that’s when he got in touch with the Sangh. He was always polite whoever he spoke to", Damle said.
"In the end, I think all the criticism over Mukherjee’s visit only helped the RSS, BJP and Modi. Congress made it an issue unnecessarily. Baba Amte’s grandson, for instance, had also visited RSS camp. Did anyone create noise about that? How many people know about it?" he said.
Stating that RSS may not support the BJP in the 2019 General Elections the way it did in 2014, Damle said the exposure of "Hindu Terrorism" had made RSS uncomfortable and hence it was forced to work to defeat the Congress and its allies.
"2014 was a special case because the bogey of ‘Hindu terrorism’ had been brought to life. Had the Congress and its allies come to power for a fourth time, RSS would have felt quite uncomfortable", Damle said.
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