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RSS sets eyes on Maya's voters after Lord Ram.

The efforts of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ( RSS), the BJP's ideological mentor, seem to be bearing fruit as the UP Assembly polls approach. Coupled with a steady rise in the number of its local organising units, known as shakhas, in the poll- bound state, the RSS is now out to showcase its programme of artificial selection among young activists, both male and female, through a programme that reminds one of ancient Greece.

Through a programme ( Prakalp) called Gunatmak Sanchalan or accentuation of values or value- addition, the RSS has sieved its activists to arrive at the best through a process of step- by- step elimination in a number of subjects like martial arts, organising potential and more academic disciplines such as poetry, debating and science.

While the RSS has been running the programme for some years in the state, the UP unit of the organisation will organise a march of its brightest lot on May 8 in Ghaziabad near Delhi.

" The Sangh tries to identify the best youth that are attracted to our ideology and then we try to accentuate and further groom the best in them. We do so to realise the potential of our young activists. We judge them on a number of parameters in a number of competitive activities such as martial arts, poetry or even in such fields as singing the Sangh prayer," Kshetra prant prachar pramukh Kripashankar told Mail Today.

The RSS functionary also revealed that the number of shakhas have been on a consistent rise in the past three years in the state.

Benefitting BJP While the RSS has always maintained that it does not contest elections -- it calls itself a cultural rather than political organisation -- it provides its political arm, the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) with the necessary manpower and grassroots mobilisation.

Put in this context the swelling ranks of the Right- wing body might serve as a shot in the arm for the BJP. The Kshetra prant prachar pramukh told Mail Today that since 2013- 14, the number of shakhas in UP had gone up from 44,996 to 56,859 in the current year so far. Between 2013- 14 and 2014- 15, the number of shakhas in the state went up from 44,996 to 51,332, a rise of almost 15 per cent.

Comparing the numbers in 2016 against those from the last year, the rise has already been around 10 per cent.

Another feature of this rise has been that the lion's share is RSS sets eyes on Maya's voters after Lord Ram accounted for by the youth.

While the Sangh makes a distinction between two kinds of shakhas-- Vidyarthi ( youth or students) and Vyavasayi ( professionals)-- the increase has been comparatively more in the shakhas attended by students.

While the Vidyarthi shakhas numbered 29,295 in 2013- 14, the corresponding figure for Vyavasayi shakhas was 15,701.

In 2014- 15, the figure for students' shakhas grew to 33,790 or by over 15 per cent compared to the previous year. The shakhas attended by professionals numbered 17,542 and their rise against previous year was nearly 12 per cent.

Big rise In the current year, the vidyarthi shakhas have already recorded a rise of over 10 per cent, to grow to 37,308. The vyavasayi shakhas have registered a rise of close to 12 per cent to stand at 19,551.

The growing numbers of the RSS are likely to prove key to the BJP's chances of winning the important state.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:May 8, 2016
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