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Mohan Bhagwat in Rajasthan, BJP hopes to iron out differences with RSS in state

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RSS chief is on a 10-day tour of poll-bound Rajasthan where Sangh is in a prolonged feud with Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

New Delhi: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is on a 10-day tour (pravas) of poll-bound Rajasthan, a visit that the BJP hopes will help galvanise the Sangh cadre ahead of the crucial year-end assembly elections.

Bhagwat, who is scheduled to be in the state till 30 September, is visiting three RSS units (prants) — in Jodhpur, Chittorgarh and Jaipur.

His tour comes in the backdrop of a prolonged feud between the RSS, its affiliates and the state’s BJP Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje that has threatened to derail the party’s prospects in Rajasthan.

Also read: Mohan Bhagwat’s idea of India is not a thali of identities but a khichdi: Shashi Tharoor

The RSS chief has already addressed around 2,000 Sangh members of the Jodhpur unit, where he urged them to expand the organisation’s shakhas in the region.

“He asked representatives to work extensively on expanding Sangh’s work and establish coordination at all levels including in rural areas. Training of Sangh cadre too was discussed,” said a source.

While Bhagwat’s tour, according to the RSS, had been planned six months ago and has nothing to do with the polls, the BJP leadership is pinning its hopes on the visit ironing out differences between the party and its ideological parent.

Sources in the BJP said that its leaders of Nagore and Jodhpur units have already held one-on-one meetings with the RSS chief. “These were touted as courtesy visits and not scheduled ones,” said a senior party leader.

With Bhagwat expected to be in Jaipur on the last two days of his tour, he will in all likelihood meet Rajasthan Education Minister Vasudev Devnani, state Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria and Union ministers Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

Sangh run-ins in Rajasthan

The RSS and the state BJP have been at loggerheads for a while now. Such has been the rift that the post of BJP general secretary for the state, usually occupied by an RSS leader, lay vacant between 2009 and 2017.

In 2009, the post was held by Prakash Chandra but he was removed due to differences with Raje and other ministers in the run-up to the 2009 assembly elections. In 2017, the party finally appointed RSS leader Chandrasekhar, who had been the in-charge of the Varanasi BJP unit when PM Modi contested polls there in 2014. His elevation was seen as an attempt to improve relations between the BJP and the RSS in the state.

Also read: Silence speaks louder than words: What RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat didn’t mention

Sources said there is a continued perception that the saffron cadre in Rajasthan is angry with the Raje government. The BJP is now banking on Bhagwat to reach out to the saffron cadre in the state and generate the much-needed goodwill that the party desperately needs in Rajasthan.

“The pravas are set programmes but this one is in a state that is going to the polls. So, while Bhagwat has a plan chalked out for the Sangh cadre, BJP leaders are still hopeful of sharing their views and seeking blessings from him,” said the senior BJP leader.

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