There should be a conversation, in a cordial atmosphere, between those in favour of reservations and those against it, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said on Sunday, provoking critics to accuse him of telegraphing the ruling BJP’s intent of ending quota for the poor and backward castes.
Mohan Bhagwat’s words had caused a similar flap in 2015, just before the Bihar election, when he called for a review of the reservation policy. At the height of the election campaign, the words were seen to be detrimental to the BJP — the RSS is the party’s ideological mentor – which lost in Bihar.
Months later, Mr Bhagwat tweeted that reservation “is needed” as long as social discrimination remains in the society.
In his latest comments, the RSS chief said he had spoken on reservation earlier as well, but it created a lot of noise and the whole discussion went off a tangent from the actual issue.
Those who favoured reservation should speak keeping in mind the interests of those who are against it, and vice-versa, he said. “Any discussion on reservation results in sharp reactions every time whereas there is a need for sadbhavna (harmony) in the different sections of the society on this approach,” said Mr Bhagwat at the closing session of Gyan Utsav, an event revolving around competitive exams.
Mr Bhagwat also clarified that the RSS, the BJP and the party-led government were “three separate entities” and one cannot be held responsible for the actions of the other. “Since there are Sangh workers in BJP and this government, they will listen to the RSS, but it is not mandatory for them to agree with us. They can disagree as well,” he said.
Reacting to Mr Bhagwat’s comment, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted that the anti-Dalit, backward face of the RSS-BJP had been exposed. “The conspiracy to end reservations for the poor and change the constitution has been uncovered,” the Congress leader said in his tweets.
RSS sources said the organization was being mischievously targeted. “A deliberate attempt is being made to misconstrue the Sarsanghchalak’s remarks. All he has said is that there should be a dialogue in a cordial atmosphere in this issue. That does not mean the RSS wants reservation to be taken off,” said a leader.
The RSS said in 2015, the controversy had erupted just before the Bihar polls. “Now once again, there is an attempt to dent the RSS’ image in run up to assembly polls for four states, it cannot be a coincidence, there is a pattern to it,” the leader said.
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