Men, machinery and mind of RSS behind BJP's poll power punch

Updated on : Mar 17,2019   2:56 pm

New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) Earlier this month, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah met Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat and attended Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS), the highest decision-making body of the ideological fountainhead of the ruling dispensation, to seek support for the Lok Sabha battle.

While the RSS is an inseparable part of the BJP's larger poll machinery, there is a marked change in the narrative this time compared to 2014.

Unlike 2014 when the RSS ran a parallel campaign to ensure that the BJP gets a historic mandate, there is a prevailing sense this time that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are extremely capable of pulling it off themselves.

The RSS overdrive in 2014 came as it was considered to be a watershed election at par with 1977 -- when Janata Alliance was able to displace the Congress for the first time -- in terms of its political significance.

New Delhi's political circles are already abuzz with talks that the RSS backs Union Minister Nitin Gadkari for the top job if the BJP falls short of numbers.

Despite a changed narrative this time, the BJP gets the benefit of the vast RSS network across the country. This machinery will come handy again.

IANS takes a look into the extent of the reach of the RSS, how the organization is structured to touch every voter and the issues that will play a major role.

The Organization

The RSS has a slightly different way of looking at the country as an organizational unit. It has a flexible structure spreading into geographical areas comprising Prants or Kshetras (states and regions) and Mandals or Nagar (areas and cities).

In RSS scheme of things, India is divided into 11 Kshetras (regions).

South: It includes Kerala and Tamil Nadu

South Central: It includes south Karnataka, West Andhra Pradesh, East Andhra Pradesh (re-organized after the formation of Telangana).

West: It includes, Konkan, West Maharashtra, Devagiri, Gujarat and Vidharbha.

Central: Malwa, Madhya Bharat, Mahakaushal and Chhattisgarh

North West: Chittor, Jaipur and Jodhpur

North: It is the nerve centre of RSS activities as it includes Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

West Uttar Pradesh: Uttarakhand, Meerut and Braj.

East Uttar Pradesh: Kanpur, Awadh, Kaashi and Gorakhpur.

North East: North Bihar, South Bihar and Jharkhand.

East: It includes Utkal, South Bengal and North Bengal.

Assam: It includes North Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, South Assam and Manipur.

A vast network of RSS frontal organizations work under this broad geographical structure.

Two primary decision-making bodies of the RSS call the shots -- Akhil Bharatiya Karyakarini or the central executive and Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS), the all-India representative council.

(Source: Know About RSS)

The issues

On Sabarimala case