‘Only those who say yes boss get space in BJP’ — ex-RSS pracharaks launch party in poll-bound MP

Bhopal: Ahead of the assembly elections scheduled later this year, five former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharaks have floated their own party in Madhya Pradesh, alleging that those ideologically inclined towards the Sangh can no longer find a space in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 

The launch of the Janhit party — which is yet to be registered — was announced Sunday by Abhay Jain, who served as an RSS pracharak from 1985 to 2008. The other former pracharaks associated with the new party are Mahesh Kale, Vishal Bindal, Raja Ram, and Manish Kale. They were all RSS workers for decades, working in Madhya Pradesh and other states.

The announcement came following a meeting of 200 former office bearers of the RSS in Bhopal Sunday, where they reached a consensus on the founding principles of the party, according to Jain.

He added that the majority of the 200 came from the Gwalior-Chambal and Malwa regions of Madhya Pradesh. Five from Jharkhand were also part of the meeting, where they filled out affidavits pledging their support to the party, said Jain.

The founders say they are disillusioned with the BJP, which they argue has deviated from the principles of the late Deendayal Upadhyaya — a one-time leader of the BJP’s forerunner, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, and proponent of the ideology of integral humanism.

They also allege that the BJP has become a centralised party, where grassroots workers have no voice or space.

“Deendayal Upadhyaya showed the principles of governance, but the BJP only has it in its vision document. On the ground, its working is no different from that of the Congress. This has left a huge vacuum, and especially people who are ideologically inclined towards the RSS do not find the space in BJP anymore,” Jain told ThePrint. 

According to Jain, the Janhit Party will work to achieve the goals of free education and health services, and employment opportunities for all, as advocated by Upadhyaya.

The party has not decided on any specific candidates yet. “But we will definitely float candidates — be it on all 230 assembly seats, 25 seats, or just one seat,” said Jain, adding that the party would also support Independent candidates who share its vision and values.

Another of the five ex-pracharaks, Mahesh Kale, alleged that the BJP has become a top-down party, where even the candidates for assembly elections are decided by the central leadership. 

“When Kushabhau Thakre was the state president (of the Jana Sangh) in MP in 1977, even the Lok Sabha tickets were decided by the state unit. But now, even the candidates for assembly elections are notified with approval from the central government. Only those who can say ‘yes boss’ are given any space,” he said.

When asked about these criticisms, BJP spokesperson Yashpal Sisodia told ThePrint, “I cannot comment on what might have led Abhay Jain and others to form this opinion towards the BJP.”

“Following the vision of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Deendayal Upadhyaya, the BJP government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working for the development of the last person, be it in the states or the Centre,” he added.

Also Read: Tomar vs Scindia, Chouhan vs VD Sharma — MP BJP rife with rivalries & CM contenders as polls near

Who are the founders?

Jain said he joined the RSS at the age of nine when he began attending shakhas, and became a pracharak in Indore in 1985 after doing an engineering degree at Bhopal’s Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT). 

He worked in Indore for 10 years and then became in-charge of Indore city and later of the Indore division, which comprised districts including Indore, Dhar, Dewas and Jhabua. During this time, he worked among tribal people in the Jhabua and Dhar districts. 

Having served as the RSS’s Prant Seva Pramukh in Madhya Pradesh and in the Baudhik Shakha (its intellectual wing) in 2005, Jain left his official position in the Sangh in 2007 and started a social organisation called Bharat Hitrakshak Abhiyan in 2008, he told ThePrint.

Mahesh Kale is a second-generation RSS worker who became a pracharak in 1991 at the age of 22. He worked in the Gwalior-Chambal and Rewa regions before stepping down in 2008, he said.

“My family has been part of the RSS since the 1940s, but now there seems to be a disconnect between the party and its workers,” he added. 

Vishal Bindal worked as a pracharak in Bhopal before moving to Jharkhand, where he is currently working in the Deogarh and Godda districts. Raja Ram and Manish Kale also worked as pracharaks in different parts of Madhya Pradesh. 

All four men joined Jain to be part of the Bharat Hitrakshak Abhiyan in 2008.

Jain and Kale said that over the past 15 years, the Bharat Hitrakshak Abhiyan has worked on issues including fighting for Hindus who were accused in the 2008 riots in Indore and those accused in relation to the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast. 

They also held a protest demanding an inquiry by the high court into the Vyapam scam that rocked Madhya Pradesh. During the COVID-19-induced lockdown, the social organisation fought for the rights and livelihoods of street vendors, according to the former pracharaks.

Last year, the organisation opposed the state government’s plan to build a 108-foot-tall statue of Adi Shankaracharya, known as the statue of oneness, at Omkareshwar. The former RSS members said they had launched a signature campaign and staged a protest against the cutting of trees and damage to the sacred Mandhata hill, where the statue was proposed to be erected.

Talking about the need to create a political party, Mahesh Kale said that when they had come to Bhopal to hold a peaceful protest against the felling of trees in Omkareshwar, they were denied space to hold a protest. 

“Acting much like the Congress government, the BJP is also not willing to give any space to people who have a contrary view. The Janhit party will show them the path for governance,” he added.

When asked about the comments made over the working of the Congress, the party’s state media in-charge, K.K. Mishra said, “This group and this party is nothing but just the Sangh Parivar’s B-team. Sensing the growing discontent among its own cadres and voters, this is a strategic move to ensure the people who are unhappy with the BJP do not go into the Congress fold, and instead join them.”

(Edited by Richa Mishra)

Also Read: ‘Neglected workers’ & Scindia factor — why BJP is losing leaders to Congress in poll-bound MP



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