Home > politics > policy > RSS to chart blueprint for expansion at Bhopal meet

New Delhi: In an effort to expand its social base in the country, particularly in rural areas, the Rashrtiya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is going to hold a three-day meeting in Bhopal to draw up a blueprint to strengthen its organizational structure.

The RSS is the ideologue of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP. Given this close relationship and influence, the expansion of the RSS presence in the country will meld well with the BJP’s plans to expand its electoral footprint.

“There is a view in the RSS that special efforts should be made to expand the number of shakhas in the country. The three-day meeting in Bhopal would focus on the expansion of shakhas," said a senior RSS leader on the condition of anonymity. In the organizational set-up of the RSS, a shakha is a local branch. The RSS currently has around 60,000 shakhas in the country.

Members disclosed that this year’s agenda is focused mostly on strategies to expand the RSS base and hence there is a limited agenda and restricted participation.

“Representatives of RSS and its affiliated organizations are normally invited in these meetings. But this time we have decided to limit the number of representatives of affiliated organizations so that there is more time devoted only to RSS members to discuss the expansion of the organization," the RSS leader added.

Among the affiliated organizations of the RSS are the BJP, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh. The student wing of the RSS is the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.

Explaining the importance of the meeting, members of the RSS said only 15 affiliated organizations would be invited.

“It was being felt for sometime now that RSS members were not getting enough time to discuss their own organizational concerns. A similar view was also expressed by representatives of affiliated organizations that they were not getting enough time in these meetings. So it has been decided for the first time that there would be more representatives of RSS, while members of affiliated organizations would get more time in a meeting which would be held in March next year," the RSS leader added.

RSS leaders also argue that the expansion plan is challenging because the organization wants to focus on increasing its presence in rural areas of the country. “At present, RSS is present in a little over 20,000 mandals or tehsils in the country out of the total 55,000 tehsils in the country. Expansion in rural areas is key to realizing the vision of RSS for an all-India presence," the RSS leader said.

Political analyst feel that since the BJP is in power at the centre and in several states, the time was right for the RSS to capitalize on the popularity of its affiliate.

“BJP is in power at the centre, and there are 18 states where the party is also in power. There cannot be a better time for the RSS to increase its social base. The idea to expand in rural areas is also interesting because the main strength of the RSS comes from cities, so the organization is now looking at newer areas," said Jai Mrug, Mumbai-based political analyst.

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