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Makeover for RSS

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  14 March 2016 12:00 AM GMT

The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) is going for a makeover. Its volunteers will be giving up their traditiol shorts to don trousers instead. The colour will remain khaki. Will full pants cramp the style of swayamsevaks as they go about their regular drills? RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi does not think so. He points to cricketers, martial arts practitioners and even yoga exponents working out in full track suits. The new RSS dress code has ostensibly been adopted to draw more youths to its fold. Despite being recognized as the engine in the BJP-led juggerut that swept back to power at the Centre in 2014, the RSS continues to get a bad press. Leaders like Ghulam bi Azad of the Congress and D Raja of the CPI talk of ‘commul’ RSS and dreaded ISIS in the same breath. Brickbats will keep coming, but now the RSS feels it has to move with the times and shed its hidebound image. Lately, it has also opposed the tradition of banning entry of women in places of worship. Does all this signify a gradual move from the fringe towards an eventually centrist position with mellowed outlook? After all, the RSS with its saffron cadre strength is recognized as the power behind the throne. But it is the BJP that has had first claim to the throne during times of saffron upsurge, despite squabbling leaders sometimes pulling in different directions. With former RSS pracharak rendra Modi having overhauled the BJP in his own image, it may not be far-fetched for the RSS to think of going one better in the long run and replacing the BJP in public perception.

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