Centre already prohibits govt servants to attend RSS shakhas: Digvijay
Amid the row over the Congress's election promise to ban government servants from attending RSS shakhas in Madhya Pradesh, the party's senior leader Digvijay Singh said Tuesday that such a prohibition already exists for Central government employees. The opposition party's manifesto for November 28 Assembly polls in the state vows to ban shakhas of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on government premises and stop government employees from attending RSS shakhas. "Ninety-five per cent of the promises made by the Congress, about farmers, women, youth, poor, tribals, Dalits, etc., are being ignored, and an issue which is already in practice under the Narendra Modi government at the Centre is being discussed," Singh told reporters here.
"There is an order, still in force, which says no Central government employee and the official can attend RSS shakhas. Holding shakhas in government buildings or premises is also not allowed," he said. Such orders are in force in many states too, he claimed. "In Madhya Pradesh too this rule existed under the Jan Sangh and BJP governments under (then chief ministers) Virendra Kumar Sakhlecha, Kailash Joshi, Sundarlal Patwa, Uma Bharti and Babulal Gaur. We have only pledged to continue it. RSS was once banned by (country's first home minister) Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel following Mahatma Gandhi's assassination," he said.
Asked about Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's statement that no one can ban RSS shakhas, Digvijay quipped, "Shivraj-ji should ask (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi to allow shakhas in Central government buildings." Speaking at Khargone Monday evening, Chouhan had said, "RSS is an organisation of patriots and every nationalist and every government staff member can attend its shakhas."
The Congress manifesto, released Saturday, says under the head `Administrative Reforms': "Holding of RSS shakhas on government premises would be banned and the order regarding the relaxation given to public servants to attend those will be revoked." The Congress government had banned RSS activities on government premises in Madhya Pradesh in 1981. The ban was revived in 2000 by then chief minister Digvijay Singh, and it continued under BJP chief ministers Uma Bharti and Babulal Gaur before chief minister Chouhan lifted it in 2006.
(With inputs from agencies.)