The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has claimed that the attendance of former President Pranab Mukherjee at its graduation ceremony earlier this month in Nagpur has led to a five-fold hike in online applications to join the Sangh.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has claimed that the attendance of former President Pranab Mukherjee at its graduation ceremony earlier this month in Nagpur has led to a five-fold hike in online applications to join the Sangh. According to a report in The Indian Express, the Nagpur-headquartered group said that of these applications, interestingly around 40% are from West Bengal.
Biplab Roy, RSS Prachar Pramukh (spokesperson), South Bengal said that the outfit is receiving around 1,200-1,300 applications on an average daily. “On June 6, online applications received were 378. On June 7, it rose to 1,779,” he said on Monday.
“Thereafter, on an average, we are getting around 1,200-1,300 applications daily. About 40 per cent of these applications are from Bengal,” the IE reported quoted Roy as saying.
Calling Mukherjee an experienced and popular politician, Roy said that there was enthusiasm surrounding former President’s visit to Nagpur in the media. He said that it was likely that his visit will draw immediate attention towards the RSS. “His presence is one of the reasons. However, we feel that it is RSS’s 92 years of work for the country which is drawing the people towards the organisation,” he said.
Jishnu Basu, RSS general secretary, South Bengal, said that democracy is being ‘killed in West Bengal and fundamentalism is on the rise’. Basu said that after Karnataka, “Bengal is the second in terms of applications to join the Sangh”.
Rantideb Sengupta, a former journalist associated with the RSS, said that this rise in applications should not be attributed to only Mukherjee’s decision to attend the Nagpur event. Sengupta said that it is one of the reasons behind the increase in online applications, but is not the only one. “Earlier many like former president Late APJ Abdul Kalam spoke at RSS meets.”
Former president Pranab Mukherjee hails from West Bengal. In an unprecedented move, he had on June 7 attended the RSS’ ‘Tritiya Varsh Training Programme’ in Nagpur where he had addressed a cadre of 700 recruits. It was for the first time that he had visited the RSS office in his nearly five decades-long political career. His attendance and praise for RSS founder KB Hedgewar had stunned the Congress which had voiced strong opposition to his idea of sharing a dais with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.