Dehradun: After the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) removed its state pracharak (chief) in Uttarakhand, Yudhveer Singh, and his co-in-charge Devender Chauhan from their posts earlier this week, in what the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership in the state has described as a routine development, the Congress has said the move has vindicated its stand. The RSS is the ideological fount of the BJP.
The decision to remove Singh and Chauhan from their posts was taken at the just-concluded four-day Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal meeting (All India Executive Board meeting) of the RSS, held 16 and 20 between October in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh and came amidst allegations made by the opposition of their involvement in appointments to state assembly offices and other recruitment scams in the state.
While Singh has been made the publicity head of the UP East chapter of Sewa Bharati, a frontal organisation of the RSS, Chauhan has been shifted to the Una centre of the Sangh’s northern region in Himachal Pradesh.
Welcoming the move, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister and Congress leader, Harish Rawat told ThePrint, “Our stand has been vindicated by the removal of the RSS state chief and his deputy from Uttarakhand.”
He added: “They have accepted the charges of misusing his office to provide government jobs to his relatives. But the damage to employment opportunities of Uttarakhand locals has already been done. It appears that the Sangh leadership was sensitive to the charges against them, but the state government has failed in its duty towards people of Uttarakhand.”
Last month all 228 appointments made in the assembly secretariat since 2016 were revoked by the present assembly speaker Ritu Khanduri based on the recommendations of a high-level committee. ThePrint reached Kandhuri on call and text messages, but the speaker declined comment saying that the matter was subjudice.
The Congress has also been demanding a CBI probe into other alleged recruitment scams in the state, including the Uttarakhand Subordinate Service Selection Commission (UKSSSC) question paper leak case.
Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Karan Mahara and the Uttarakhand in-charge of the All India Congress Committe (AICC) Devendra Yadav had held a media briefing last month, during which they had accused RSS leaders, including Singh, of being involved in recruitment scams in the state.
Meanwhile, senior RSS leader and BJP’s state general secretary Ajay Kumar, tried to play down the implications of the two transfers.
“The transfer of the two office bearers was a routine decision taken by all-India executive board in Prayagraj. Several others were also transferred in the Prayaragraj meet of the Karyakari Mandal. Decision regarding transfer of pracharaks are mostly taken in the annual conclave of Karyakari Mandal and Pratinidhi Sabha (house of representatives). It has nothing to do with any complaint against them,” Kumar said.
Some senior office bearers in the RSS office in Dehradun told ThePrint, however, that the transfers were the result of senior RSS leaders being unhappy about the constant negative feedback against the two leaders from the workers. The RSS leadership was also allegedly unhappy over Singh and Chauhan’s names surfacing in the Uttarakhand state assembly secretariat appointments scam and appointment irregularities in other departments, which has come as a big embarrassment for the Pushkar Singh Dhami government in the state.
“There were several complaints against Yudhvir Singh and Devendra Chauhan by common RSS workers. Many workers complained of being ignored by the two leaders. On the other hand these leaders themselves played a role in getting government benefits for themselves and their close ones. Their names appearing in assembly secretariat appointments scam was the immediate reason for the action against them,” said a senior RSS office bearer in Dehradun on condition of anonymity.
ThePrint reached Singh on call but received no response till the time of publication of this report.
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Alleged illegal appointments took social media by storm
As allegations of nepotism against Premchand Agarwal surfaced in August, the list of a few government employees allegedly appointed on political recommendations started doing the rounds of social media.
Harish Rawat too had shared two lists on Facebook, in a post dated 17 September.
“I have been provided 20 such lists by some investigators. I am posting two of them on my Facebook page,” Rawat had written.
These lists carried the names of 52 employees, allegedly appointed on political recommendations in different departments. The lists mentioned that the names were a brief example of “RSS prant pracharak using his political clout to provide government jobs to his relatives in Uttarakhand between 2017 and 2022”.
Rawat, however, later withdrew the lists saying that though he had no doubt as to their factual accuracy, but he had “asked his sources to further verify” all the names mentioned in them.
Both lists had by then already been shared by many social media handles, before a delegation of RSS leaders met DGP Ashok Kumar and urged him to take action against those responsible for circulating the fake lists.
“Lists posted in my Facebook page were true in every sense. It has also been stamped by the decision of RSS to shift its state head from Uttarakhand” Harish Rawat told ThePrint.
RSS vibhag pracharak Bjagwat ji, on the other hand, avoided comment on the issue and said, “I cannot comment on the decision taken by the central board and representatives’ body. Only Yudhvir Singh can say anything on the matter as he took part in the meetimg at Prayagraj.”
Meanwhile, Congress has demanded that Premchand Agarawal be removed from the cabinet, alleging, “removal of Singh and Chauhan from Dehradun” was a direct proof of corruption in the BJP government and now the Chief Minister must act.
“Removal of Singh and Chauhan from Uttarakhand is evidence that BJP government is neck-deep in corrupt practices. They were part of the nepotism and favouritism practiced by Dhami government in appointments in state assembly secratariat and other departments without even holding any screening tests. Now the Chief Minister must act and drop Premchand Agarwal from his cabinet” said Mahara.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)
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