New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government’s appointments to educational and cultural institutions seem to have a distinct Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh flavour, a view backed up by its latest choices for the posts of director general of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication and head of Prasar Bharati’s new Recruitment Board.
Prominent institutions under the Ministry of Culture, such as the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Lalit Kala Akademi and the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training, also have office-bearers with RSS backgrounds.
Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh is among those who allege that many of these appointments are not meritorious.
“Appointments in all these institutions should be done on the basis of merit. Are these persons eligible for these posts or not? If someone is non-eligible, then he will naturally be operated via remote control. It is known by all that the main control of the BJP as well as these institutions is in Nagpur (RSS headquarters),” Vallabh said.
However, the RSS dismissed talk of any involvement with these appointments. A senior RSS functionary simply said: “The government takes a decision in such matters, we have nothing to do with it.”
Seshadri Chari, former editor of RSS newspaper Organiser, told ThePrint that such allegations are “entirely misplaced”.
“Appointments in government institutions associated with arts and culture have been made on the basis of merit and not on the basis of membership and/or association with any particular organisation. If these people are doing something wrong, or working against the interests of the organisation, only then should such accusations be made against them.”
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Here’s a look at the various organisations that are headed by persons affiliated to either the BJP or its ideological parent, the RSS.
Prasar Bharati Recruitment Board
The Modi government last week formed the first Recruitment Board for national broadcaster Prasar Bharati, appointing Jagdish Upasane as its chairperson.
Upasane, director of Bharat Prakashan, was earlier vice-chancellor of the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, appointed by Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s BJP government in Madhya Pradesh. He had resigned soon after the Kamal Nath-led Congress government came to power in December 2018.
Upasane has also served as group editor of RSS’s mouthpieces Organiser and Panchjanya.
His family has long been associated with the RSS, and his mother Rajani Tai Upasane is a former Bharatiya Jana Sangh/Janata Party/BJP leader who was MLA from Raipur.
Prof. Sanjay Dwivedi was, on 1 July, named the new director general of IIMC, an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, for a period of three years.
Dwivedi, a former journalist, was serving as the acting vice-chancellor of the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication.
He has been associated with RSS-backed student organisation Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, and was a professor at the MCNUJC. His proximity to the BJP and RSS was one of the reasons he is said to have been sidelined under the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh, while the state’s Economic Offences Wing had also registered an FIR against several professors, including Dwivedi, for cheating and criminal conspiracy.
Once the Congress government fell and the BJP under Shivraj Singh Chouhan returned to power, he was appointed registrar of the university, and within a few days, acting vice-chancellor.
Dr Sachchidanand Joshi is the current member secretary of the IGNCA, having been appointed for five years in 2016.
He earlier served as vice-chancellor of the Kushabhau Thackeray Journalism and Mass Communication University in Raipur, Chhattisgarh.
Joshi is also the national president of the Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal, an associate organisation of the RSS.
He is also a member of the finance committee of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.
Centre for Cultural Resources and Training
Dr Hemlata S. Mohan is president of the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training. Her website states she has been associated with Sanskar Bharati, another RSS-linked body, since 1987.
Mohan, who hails from Jharkhand, has served as president of the state women’s commission, and is a member of the governing body of the Jharkhand State Legal Services Authority. She is an academician who was awarded by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2004.
Indian Council for Cultural Relations
BJP’s national vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe is currently chairperson of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, an important body under the Ministry of External Affairs.
Sahasrabuddhe’s predecessors at the ICCR were Prof. Lokesh Chandra (2014-17) and former Union minister and Congress leader Dr Karan Singh (2005-14).
Sahasrabuddhe is also a Rajya Sabha MP, and the BJP’s person in-charge of Madhya Pradesh.
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