Vidyasagar Rao said he was proud to be part of the RSS. (File photo)
Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao baffled many by coining a new term - Sanghstan - which he used liberally at an event in Nagpur. Referring to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP, as "Sanghstan" he said he was proud to be part of it. The RSS, he said, was one of the most inclusive and secular organisations, as it respected people's right to practice their faith, he said.
"Sangsthan...we have all come from there, and we proudly say it also," Mr Rao declared, referring to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP.
In his address at the inauguration of a local university, Mr Rao spoke of the misconceptions about the organisation, including one that maintains that it is not secular.
Mr Rao said in his book, BJP veteran LK Advani had recounted a conversation with MS Golwalkar, popularly known as Guruji, "and stated it was his first lesson on secularism learnt from Guruji in Delhi, when he was 21 years old".
A longtime BJP member who has also served in the RSS, Mr Rao was a minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government. He was appointed the Governor of Maharashtra in August 2013 and had temporarily held charge of Tamil Nadu.
Dubbing the RSS the "mother ship of the BJP", Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has accused it of wanting to control all institutions. This mindset has led to chaos everywhere in the country, including areas of judiciary and education, he has alleged.