[The motorcycle used in the 2008 Malegaon blast was traced to Sadhavi Pragya Singh Thakur which had led to her consequent arrest. (ummid.com photo)]
New Delhi: Shridhar Damle, the scholar who has co-authored ‘RSS: A View to the Inside’ with Walter Anderson on Saturday said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) supported BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and ensured the defeat of Congress and its allies because the bogey of "Hindu Terrorism" was brought to life and this had made it uneasy.
"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 adding that the RSS may not support the BJP in the 2019 General Elections the way it did in 2014.
Damle however said that it wasin 2009, after Congress’ second victory in general elections, that RSS had decided to do something about 2014.
"It wasn’t because of Amit Shah that the BJP secured 73 out of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh. Shah came to UP only a year before the polls", Damle said in an interview with CNN News18.
"In 2010, a senior prant pracharak was called from Assam to Uttar Pradesh. When he started with a booth-level programme, the BJP barely had 10% strength at the booths. This person mobilised lakhs of people with help of other pracharaks and created the booth-level programme which he then passed on to Amit Shah. It was because of his and other RSS workers’ tireless efforts that BJP swept UP and was able to wipe out other parties", he said.
There are instances when people allegedly associated with the RSS and its affliates were reported to have been invloved in terrorism. However, it was the then Maharashtra ATS Chief, Hemant Karkare, who unearthed with ample proof the involvement of Hindutva extremists in various terror attacks including 2006 and 2008 Malegaon blasts, Ajmer blasts, Samjhauta Express blasts and others.
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 said.
"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.
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