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An era ends in RSS

An era ends in RSS

Author: T N Raghunatha
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: March 22, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/164320/An-era-ends-in-RSS.html

In a significant change of guard in the 84-year-old Hindu nationalist organisation, Mohan Bhagwat on Saturday took over as the new Rashtriya Swayayamsewak Sangh (RSS) sarsanghchalak, after 78-year-old K S Sudarshan relinquished the post citing health reasons.

Sudarshan, who had held the coveted post for three terms since 2000, formally announced his decision to step down on the second day of the RSS workers' conclave at the organizational headquarters at Nagpur, facilitating the ascendency of Bhagwat to the top post. As has been the tradition in the organisation, outgoing chief Sudarshan proposed Bhagwat's name which was unanimously accepted, sources said.

In a related development, Suresh Joshi replaced Bhagwat as general secretary. A confidante of Bhagwat, Joshi got a formal nod from the Sangh Parivar to become the general secretary, though current joint secretary Suresh Soni, a Sudarshan acolyte, was in the running for the important post.

Fifty-nine-year-old Bhagwat, who has assumed office as the sixth head of the oldest Hindu organization, is the youngest person to take over the reins of RSS, an organization founded by Dr Keshav Baliram Hegdewar way back in 1925.

While Hedgewar as founder held the Sarsanghchalak's post till 1940 (except for a year - 1930 to 1931 -when he was imprisoned for participating in the satyagraha). The others who held the coveted post earlier were Dr Laxman Vaman Paranjpe (1930-1931), Madhavrao Sadashivrao Golwalkar (1940-1973), Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras, better known as Balasaheb (1973-1993) and Rajendra Singh, also known as, Rajjubhaiya (1993-2000).

What stands the 59-year-old Bhagwat in good stead is his relatively young age and "pro-active" approach. An excellent man-manager, Bhagwat is closer to the organisational cadres than Sudarshan. "Though Bhagwat may not make a major departure from the treaded path of RSS, the cadres expect him to bring about a whiff of fresh air and new ideas to the organisation," a senior Nagpur-based RSS functionary said.

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