New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s endeavor to flood social media profiles with the national flag has not moved his party ideologue the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Opposition has pointed out.
Modi urged social media users this week to change their display profiles to the tricolour to mark the 75th year of Independence. The party’s official Twitter handle as well as multiple leaders followed suit to mark the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ initiative.
But the RSS has not obeyed the Prime Minister’s request — neither the organisation’s official Twitter handle nor a number of senior Sangh leaders, including chief Mohan Bhagwat and Dattatreya Hosabale, have switched to the flag. The RSS’ Facebook page is also not displaying it.
A senior functionary said: “We don’t take any decision under anyone’s pressure. If the display pic of our official Twitter handle has to be changed, it will be in due course of time.”
He, however, pointed out that some leaders have already changed their display photos. Among them were joint general secretaries Manmohan Vaidya, Arun Kumar and prachar pramukh Sunil Ambekar.
Speaking to ThePrint, Ambekar said, “The Sangh has already announced its support to the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav campaign and appealed to all Swayamsevaks to support programmes by both the central and state governments as well as by other organisations. No one should do politics over this and concentrate on celebrating the mahotsav.”
Congress leader Pawan Khera took to Twitter and shared the screenshots of the RSS and its chief Mohan Bhagwat’s profile photos, with a cryptic message: “Sangh walon, ab toh tiranga ko apna lo (The people of the Sangh, at least adopt the tricolour now)”.
— Pawan Khera 🇮🇳 (@Pawankhera) August 3, 2022
‘PM’s message did not reach his family’
Senior Congress leader and MP Jairam Ramesh said: “We are putting the DP of our leader (Jawaharlal) Nehru with tricolour in his hands. But it seems that the message of the Prime Minister did not reach his family. Those who did not hoist the flag in their headquarters in Nagpur for 52 years, will they obey the Prime Minister?”
हम हाथ में तिरंगा लिए अपने नेता नेहरू की DP लगा रहे हैं। लेकिन लगता है प्रधानमंत्री का संदेश उनके परिवार तक ही नहीं पहुंचा। जिन्होंने 52 सालों तक नागपुर में अपने हेड क्वार्टर में झंडा नहीं फहराया, वे क्या प्रधानमंत्री की बात मानेंगे? #MyTirangaMyPride https://t.co/JOiTkYC9cY
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) August 3, 2022
The RSS has a custom of rooting for its own flag rather than the tricolour and only hoisted it at its headquarters on August 15, 1947, 26 January, 1950 and the last time in 2002.
Not only Congress leaders, but the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) also slammed the RSS and the BJP for ignoring the importance of the Indian flag for decades.
“For 52 years #RSS did not accept the Indian Flag, and did not hoist the Indian Flag until 2002. And now, RSS & BJP is lecturing us on Har Ghar Tiranga, Patriotism & Nationalism! #ShameOnBJP,” tweeted TRS social media convener and chairman of Telangana State Renewable Energy Development Corporation Y Satish Reddy.
For 52 years #RSS did not accept the Indian Flag, and did not hoist the Indian Flag until 2002.
— YSR (@ysathishreddy) August 2, 2022
The BJP, on the other hand, hit out at the Opposition for not participating in the ‘Tiranga’ bike rally organized Wednesday to pay tribute to freedom fighters as part of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ programme.
The rally started at Delhi’s Red Fort and several BJP ministers and MPs took part.
The party’s IT cell national convener Amit Malvya said: “This morning, MPs took out a Tiranga Bike Rally from the historic Red Fort. The Vice President flagged off the rally but no Opposition MP chose to participate. Is this an unequivocal admission that the BJP is the sole custodian of the Tiranga, a symbol of our national pride?”
During his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio broadcast, Modi had pointed out how the tricolour initiative would specifically enhance the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebration that was going on to mark the 75th year of India’s independence.
Following Modi’s cue, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday asked citizens to put the national flag as their profile photo on social media accounts between August 2 and 15. He endorsed the campaign ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ by changing his Twitter display picture.
Notably, Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Jairam Ramesh among others have changed their display picture – to an image where India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru is holding the national flag.