Published On : Tue, Aug 11th, 2015

RSS supporters push for Bhagwat’s presence at varsity convocation; spark another row

Nagpur: Even as the invitation row surrounding Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s absence at recent inauguration of IIM in Nagpur was about to settle down, similar other issue sparked up another debate, this time for RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Recently Gadkari’s absence at IIM inauguration caught the media’s attention a big which later turned out that Gadkari was not sent formal invitation due to which he kept himself from attending the event. Probably taking a cue from this incident RSS supporters have sent letters to Union Human Resources Ministry and the Governor of Maharashtra, requesting to invite Bhagwat at the convocation ceremonies of universities and other institutions. The RSS sympathizers were of the view that Bhagwat has been noticeably kept away from such ceremonies, despite him being active in several social and cultural development.

Even though no decision has been taken on the issue yet, it has already begun to cause ripples in political circles, with the Congress seeing it as another move by the RSS and the BJP to “encroach upon the educational field”.

Sunil Mishra, former chairman of the Board of Studies of Mass Communications, Nagpur University, had, in June this year, shot off letters to the Union Human Resources Ministry and the Maharashtra Governor, who is chancellor of universities in the state, asking them to invite Bhagwat to the institutions.

The government took a neutral stand on the issue and, after duly putting up the letter before Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, the Raj Bhavan informed Mishra that no further action was necessary on his petition as choosing which dignitary to invite for convocations was the prerogative of the universities.

Pointing out that Bhagwat and the RSS were doing unparalleled work through 1.6 lakh centres across the country, Mishra said, “Many people like me wish that he (Bhagwat) should be invited to all universities in the state, and the Union HRD should also invite him to attend convocation of Central universities. In fact, we wanted this to begin at the Nagpur University, where he studied,” he said.

The RSS, in particular, sees a lifetime opportunity in the current governments to get its agenda through. This demand must be condemned by all,” said Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant. Sawant added he BJP-RSS combine was systematically working in the government to bring in changes it desires.

“The RSS-affiliated organisations are being used to train government employees and the people who were associated with them are working in top positions in the government and some of them have been made vice-chancellors as well,” he said.

‘What’s wrong?’

Leaders from the RSS and the BJP, however, saw nothing wrong with the demand. RSS ideologue M G Vaidya said that there should be no objection if Bhagwat was invited to grace (university) convocations. “However, he (Bhagwat) will decide whether to attend or skip them,” said the 93-year-old former RSS veteran from Nagpur.

“RSS is a nationalist organisation which teaches us to love our country. I also agree that universities are autonomous and can decide on their own. But what’s wrong if some people want their university to invite the RSS chief for the convocation?” asked state BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye.

“There should be no objection (from others) if Mohanji is called for guiding the students at a crucial juncture like their convocation ceremony,” Upadhye said.

Let Bhagwat take the call, says MG Vaidya

Leaders from the RSS and the BJP, however, saw nothing wrong with the demand. RSS ideologue M G Vaidya said that there should be no objection if Bhagwat was invited to grace (university) convocations. “However, he (Bhagwat) will decide whether to attend or skip them,” said the 93-year-old former RSS veteran from Nagpur.