- Mohan Bhagwat was replying to a question on "politics of polarisation"
- Politics, said the RSS chief, should be for the welfare of people
- He said RSS "only supports policies" and not "a political party"
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday frowned on "shamshan-kabristan" politics that he said was practiced for power and not for public welfare. The comment surprised many as it was placed in the context of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's words during his campaign for the Uttar Pradesh elections last year.
Mohan Bhagwat was replying to a question on "politics of polarization" during a Q and A that wrapped a three-day RSS conclave "Future of Bharat: An RSS perspective".
Politics, said the RSS chief, should be for the welfare of people and the medium of this is power.
"If this happens then what JP (Jayaprakash Narayan), (Mahatma) Gandhi had expected... Then this question will not arise. Shamshan, Kabristan, saffron terror all these issues will not come up. These crop up when politics is practised for power and not for welfare of people," he said.
In February 2017, PM Modi had used the words while accusing the Akhilesh Yadav government in UP of discriminating on the basis of religion. "If you create a kabristan (graveyard) in a village, then a shamshan (cremation ground) should be created. If electricity is given uninterrupted in Ramzan, then it should be given in Diwali without a break. There should be no discrimination," he had said at an election rally.
The RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP and is often seen as controlling the reins behind the scenes.
Over the three-day conclave, Mr Bhagwat sought to refute that view several times as he presented the RSS in a different, more liberal and forward-looking avatar.
He said the RSS "only supports policies" and whoever implements them automatically gets its support. "We do not favour a political party."
But the RSS chief also praised the Modi government as he responded to a question on whether the country had progressed since the BJP took power in 2014.
"The situation that you have got in legacy... The government has to work accordingly. Moving forward does not happen at once. They (Modi government) have moved ahead in that direction as there is a change in the atmosphere of society. More people are thinking of manufacturing within the country," he said.
The RSS chief also spoke against religious conversions with inducements and said there should be no "double standards" over violence in the name of cow.
The RSS, he said, does not approve the word "minorities" as it considers all to be equal citizens. This description was not in use before Independence, he added.
He also said that a Ram temple should be built "at the earliest" in Ayodhya, which would remove a major cause of discord of between Hindus and Muslims. The RSS and its pro-Hindu affiliates have for long campaigned for a temple where the Babri mosque was razed by Hindu activists who believe it was built on the birthplace of Ram.
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