The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) commenced its two-day Pratinidhi Sabha in Bengaluru today. Though the Pratinidhi Sabha is organised every year, the Sangh elects a new team every three years. This year’s Pratinidhi Sabha is the triennial meet where a new team is expected to be elected. The most important change expected is the election of a new Sarkaryawah (general secretary). The sabha will choose its new team on March 20.
There has been speculation of Dattatreya Hosbale replacing the current Sarkaryawah Suresh ‘Bhayyaji’ Joshi for the last six years. However, the triennial RSS Pratinidhi Sabha may go for a change this time given the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Hosbale is now 65 years old and if elevated as Sarkaryawah, he will have at least 10 years to stay at the helm. Bhayyaji Joshi is now 73 and is also fit enough to continue at the post.
Dilip Deodhar, an RSS swayamsevak, who is known for interpretive writings about RSS did not rule out the possibility of a change. He told The Indian Express that considering the 2024 general elections and 2025 RSS centenary, a new and younger Sarkaryawah is the need of the hour to shoulder the responsibility of organising several programmes.
He said that Hosbale has had a vast experience of serving in the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) as its organising secretary and as an organiser, crucial for a post like Sarkaryawah. In RSS, the Sarkaryawah is the functional head of the organisation supervising its day-to-day activities.
However, a senior functionary of the RSS said that he doesn’t see any reason why the current balance between the RSS, BJP and government needs to change. “Bhayyaji is currently coordinating among the three and everything is going on smoothly. Moreover, he is 73 and can go on for at least another three years,” he told the IE.
According to reports, a section of the RSS doesn’t favour Hosbale’s name who is known for his proximity to PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. The section feels that the election of Hosbale could be seen as BJP having its say in the internal affairs of the RSS.
Pratinidhi Sabha is a meeting of top RSS office-bearers from across the country. This time, around 450 members are participating in-person while many are expected to join online adding up to a congregation of about 1,400 people.