RSS says no change in stand on Art 370; wants J-K experiment to succeed

NAGPUR : The RSS today said its stance on Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir has not changed, even as it termed as “teething problems” the friction between BJP and PDP in the state stressing that the “novel experiment” should be given time to succeed.
“RSS’s stand on Article 370 has not changed, we will never compromise on it. We want the situation to improve. If the situation does not improve, then we will decide,” RSS joint General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said at the first day of the three-day conclave of the apex body of the Sangh.
On BJP’s alliance with PDP hitting a rocky patch in Jammu and Kashmir where the saffron party is in government for the first time, Hosabale said though the Sangh “was not happy” with the occurrences, those were “teething problems”.
He was addressing the media soon after the brainstorming session of ‘Akhil Bhartiya Pratinidhi Sabha’, the highest decision and policy making body of the Sangh, kicked off in Nagpur, the seat of RSS, BJP’s ideological mentor.
“The country is angry. We don’t think what is happening in Jammu and Kashmir is right, but we should not conclude that the government has failed.
“This is a novel experiment. In J&K, no nationalist party had ever reached this point. These are teething problems. We should allow time and opportunity for this experiment to succeed,” he said.
“It is good if the alliance succeeds. It is necessary for a nationalist party to endeavour for setting things right in a state like J&K while being in power. A message should go out, in the country and abroad, to our neighbours that such an effort is being made,” he said.
He insisted the alliance partners in the state should follow the “coalition dharma” and work in complete coordination. Hosabale said the two parties had narrowed down their differences and arrived at an ‘Agenda for Governance’ that outlined their common goals.
“The thinking that the alliance should be called off simply because there are some problems is not right, but whether the two parties can together run the government is for them to decide,” he said, adding “our best wishes are with them.”
He also said, “The issue of J&K is not between two parties in an alliance…It is attached to national sentiment. Both BJP and the prime minister have voiced disapproval over what has happened in Jammu and Kashmir,” Hosabale said.
Relations between BJP and PDP have been under strain since the day the coalition government under Mufti Mohammed Sayeed assumed office.
Soon after taking oath, Sayeed had credited elements in Pakistan, separatist Hurriyat Conference and militants for peaceful Assembly elections, in comments which riled BJP. The release of separatist leader Masarat Alam further peeved the saffron party.
Endorsing the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, the general secretary said, “There is no reason for not being satisfied and for being fully satisfied we need to give the government five years. Everything cannot be done in nine months but the direction taken by the government is right”.
Describing the political change ushered in with the formation of the BJP-led NDA government as a “good and welcome” beginning, Hosabale said much is still needed to be done for a qualitative change in the social harmony situation.
“Political change is just one aspect of the broader social change, but it is welcome,” he said.
Meeting for the first time since the formation of the Modi government at the Centre, the Pratnidhi Sabha will discuss a wide range of issues, including ways to enhance coordination between RSS and BJP in closed-door sessions at ‘Smriti Bhavan’.
Also, the conclave is likely to discuss RSS’s role in shaping the policies of the Centre, particularly in the field of education.
After its cadre played a vital role in ensuring a resounding victory for BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, RSS has been consistently engaging with the Government over curriculum of the educational institutions, seen by the detractors as an attempt to further its pro-Hindutva cultural agenda.
Hosabale said two resolutions will be adopted at the
session, including one on seeking imparting of primary education in the mother tongue or native language of the students.
The other resolution will hail the UN decision designating June 21 as International Yoga Day which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pitched for in his address to UN General Assembly.
Nearly 1,400 delegates of RSS and its affiliates, including BJP, who are attending the meet will also elect the new Sarkaryavah (general secretary) and deliberate on ways to expand the organisation.
The delegates will vote to elect the general secretary, a post occupied by Suresh alias Bhaiyyaji Joshi at present. Joshi’s second three-year term is coming to an end but he is eligible for re-election. The name of the new general secretary will be announced either on March 14 evening or the next morning.
The top RSS decision-making body is also likely to take stock of BJP’s position on issues like Article 370 in J&K and the controversial Land Acquisition Bill which has been opposed by the RSS affiliate Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh.
The controversial ‘Ghar Vapasi’ programme of the right wing Hindu outfits like VHP and Bajrang Dal will, however, not be on the agenda.
“There will be no discussion on the Ghar Vapasi. RSS itself never does Ghar Vapasi programme, therefore we won’t discuss it. Those organisations that are doing it have our best wishes,” Hosabale said.
BJP president Amit Shah, party’s general secretary and a key RSS man Ram Madhav, and VHP leader Praveen Togadia would be among those who would attend the conclave. (AGENCIES)

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