The recent four day outreach programme of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) ‘Sarsanghchalak’, Mohan Bhagwat in Dehradun has created a controversy following objections by former Uttarakhand Chief Minister and Congress party general secretary Harish Rawat. The four day tour concluded on Friday evening.
The RSS chief during his four day stay met a cross section of people including a delegation of youth, intellectuals, writers, Vice-chancellors and former bureaucrats and shared his thoughts about the ‘Sangh’ philosophy with them.
The former Chief Minister objected to the meeting of vice-chancellors of state universities and principals of colleges with the RSS chief, terming it attempts by the ‘Sangh Parivar’ to saffronize the education with the help of state’s BJP government . Harish Rawat asked that under what capacity RSS chief was meeting the vice-chancellors and principals of colleges. He accused the state BJP government of forcing these meetings.
He alleged that the ‘Sangh’ has no faith in the constitution and the meetings of VCs and principals was an attempt to influence them toward saffronisation of education. Harish Rawat also expressed his surprise at the meeting of former Chief Secretaries of the state with the RSS chief. At least four Chief Secretaries of the state who hold high positions on various state government bodies met the RSS chief. Harish Rawat took a dig at them also stating that they probably went in to meet him for their own self interest.
Reacting on the allegations leveled by Harish Rawat, Uttarakhand Minister of State for Higher Education Dr Dhan Singh Rawat himself a RSS functionary said that there was no pressure and everyone is free to meet anyone. He said that all these people went to meet the RSS chief of their own free will and there was no political agenda behind the meetings.
Interestingly, ‘Sangh Parivar’ which has a strong base in Uttarakhand has been preparing well for the forthcoming general elections. BJP chief Amit Shah has already held a meeting with the party functionaries of the Haridwar and Tehri districts in Dehradun last week and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address a rally in Udham Singh Nagar district of Kumaon, kick starting his election campaign in the state on February 14.