UP: Amid Ongoing Lok Sabha Elections, Political Observers Raise Questions Over 'Absence Of RSS On Ground'

UP: Amid Ongoing Lok Sabha Elections, Political Observers Raise Questions Over 'Absence Of RSS On Ground'

Traditionally, RSS has played a crucial role in mobilising voters, though it refrains from openly endorsing any political party.

BISWAJEET BANERJEEUpdated: Thursday, May 16, 2024, 01:00 PM IST
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Lucknow: As the election fervour intensifies in Lucknow with less than five days remaining until it goes to poll, a curious absence has been noted by both politicians and observers alike the seeming lack of activity from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

The topic first gained traction when a Congress candidate Ujjawal Ram Singh from Prayagraj told FPJ reporter around a fortnight back that he is in dominating position because the RSS seems to be not active in election this time.

“I have some contacts in RSS, and know for sure they are not as active as they used to be in elections,” he said.

On Monday last, a BJP lawmaker, raked up the same question. When questioned about the low voter turnout, he retorted with a pointed inquiry: “Have you seen RSS workers in this election?” This questioning has sparked a debate on whether the RSS, a historically influential force in BJP's electoral machinery, is indeed less visible in this campaign cycle.

Role Played By RSS In Mobilising Voters

Traditionally, RSS has played a crucial role in mobilising voters, though it refrains from openly endorsing any political party. Instead, it subtly advocates for BJP's nationalist agenda. However, recent observations suggest a departure from this norm.

Reports indicate a decline in coordination meetings between RSS and BJP leaders, a departure from previous election cycles where such interactions were routine.

A BJP leader said Samanvayak Baithaks (co-ordination meetings) were held earlier, but now there are no meetings. Some leaders reportedly believed RSS did not like the personality-centric campaigning where Modi's image has been projected as larger than life image. Others argue RSS cannot snub Modi as he has implemented the Sangh agenda like construction of Ram Temple, revoked Article 370 and announced implementation of UCC if he returns to power.

RSS Leaders Dismiss Allegations

In response to these speculations, RSS leaders have dismissed allegations of reduced activity, asserting the organisation continues its voter mobilisation efforts independently.

Bholendra, a VHP leader and Pracharak, emphasised RSS meetings are going on at ground level. “It is not mandatory to involve BJP representatives in the meetings. We are doing our work at the ground level to build a strong 'Samaj',” he told this reporter, adding: “BJP leaders should not question Sangh's sincerity in this election.”

Sudhir Sehgal, another RSS worker, said meetings are being held regularly.

“Drawing room meetings are being held regularly where Sangh workers interact with people of particular locality,” he said.

Bholendra is also concerned about low voting percentage. He attributed the low turnout to voter disillusionment and factors like speculation surrounding Modi's potential return to power and discontent among party workers over alliances and candidate selections.

Despite reassurances from RSS leaders and accounts of grassroots activities, the apparent absence of the familiar sight of RSS workers in their trademark attire has left many wondering about the organisation's true level of involvement.

As the polling day nears, the question remains: Will the subdued presence of RSS have a significant impact on the electoral outcome, echoing the events of the 2004 election? Only time will tell.

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