The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government in Madhya Pradesh recently lifted the ban on employees joining the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).
The reaction of the Congress party and its perverse logic were on expected lines. The party, whose Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir surprisingly pleaded clemency for Mohammad Afzal, who has been sentenced to death in the Parliament attack case, had the audacity to call the RSS a terrorist organisation. Alleging that RSS is a ?terrorist organisation?, Madhya Pradesh Congress spokesman Manak Agrawal said, ?The display of weapons (sic) by RSS members on various occasions amply proved it.? Shri Agrawal, of course, does not have an answer to the question that if lathi is the ?weapon? he is referring to, how would he describe the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi? Unnerved that the patriotic employees in Madhya Pradesh would flock to RSS shakhas in lakhs, the Congress party staged a protest march to the Chief Minister'sresidence, submitted a memorandum to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in Delhi and its national President Sonia Gandhi shot off a letter to the President seeking his intervention in the matter. ?RSS is a communal organisation like SIMI and is involved in dividing society on communal grounds,? claimed state Congress president Subhash Yadav. The people of Madhya Pradesh know better than Yadav that the RSS, which was invited by the Congress government at the Centre to take part in the Republic Day Parade in Delhi, cannot be equated with SIMI, whose involvement in the recent Mumbai suburban train blasts has been conclusively established. With the Congress appointing its hardcore loyalists like Buta Singh as Governors in various states, it was but natural that the Hon?ble Governor of Madhya Pradesh too would not remain silent. Within days of the state government issuing the circular, Governor Balram Jakhar sought clarifications from the BJP government on the ?constitutional validity? of its decision permitting government servants to join the RSS. Shri Jakhar was apparently echoing the sentiments expressed by Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Jamuna Devi questioning the ?cultural? identity of the Sangh.
It was not a coincidence, therefore, that within three days of Shri Jakhar'squery, Congress President Sonia Gandhi shot off a letter to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam stating among other things, ?I am informed that the Governor of Madhya Pradesh was kept completely in the dark by the state government while it took the policy decision that has far-reaching implications and repercussions.? One thought that the Governor reports to President of India and not party Presidents. The letter was delivered to Shri Kalam by a Congress delegation, which called on him. ?To allow government employees to participate in the activities of an organisation that has had a long record of stoking religious prejudices, inflaming religious passions and polarizing our society is a dangerous move and will not be in the national interest,? said a concerned Gandhi in her letter.
The promptness and haste with which Smt Gandhi wrote to the President was not visible when her Catholic Church head, the Pope, criticised Islam. Nor was it seen when her party satrap in Jammu and Kashmir Gulam Nabi Azad pleaded mercy for Afzal or when her government in Delhi helplessly watched as bulldozers mowed down buildings and officials went around selective sealing rendering lakhs of citizens homeless and jobless. Supported that she is by the anti-national leftists and political mavericks like Lalu Prasad, Smt Gandhi knows too well that she faces real threat only from nationalist organisations like the RSS, which would fearlessly expose her fa?ade and nefarious designs.
Calling Smt Gandhi'sbluff, RSS National Executive Member Shri Ram Madhav said Sangh members were everywhere including the Congress. ?Just scratch their body and you will find RSS blood inside,? he said. Madhav also dubbed a ?political stunt? Smt Gandhi'spetitioning President Kalam. Dismissing the Congress allegations, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan categorically stated that RSS was a socio-cultural organisation, which had motivated lakhs of people to carry out social work. State government employees have not been forced to take part in RSS activities. Those unable to digest lifting the ban may move to courts of law, he dared the critics and opponents. The Chief Minister knows well. In the past too, the courts have upheld such decisions and dismissed objections. The future will be no different.
A circular issued by the state government said the restriction on government servants joining any political party or organisation does not apply to the RSS because it is a cultural organisation. The order, distributed to all government departments, Commissioners, Collectors, head of departments and CEOs of district Panchayats reads, ?The state government makes it clear that as far as the Sub-rule 1 of Rule 5 of the Madhya Pradesh Civil Services (Conduct Rules) 1965 is concerned, it is not applicable to the RSS.? ?It (RSS) is a cultural and social organisation that takes part in various creative activities and also imparts patriotic feeling amongst the youth. That is why everyone including the government servants can be part of it,? Chouhan said. The ban on Government servants joining the RSS was imposed by former Congress Chief Minister Digvijay Singh in May 2000.