Striking a conciliatory note after the belligerent stand over the past few days, RSS’ former Goa unit chief Subhash Velingkar on Friday said there was no rift in the organisation and the differences would be sorted out soon.
Velingkar had taken on the BJP government in Goa over its support for English-medium schools and was ousted from his post as Goa unit chief of RSS on August 31.
“If there is any rift it won’t sustain for long, it (Sangh) is not like BJP. This is a temporary phase. There is no rift between swayamsevaks, the differences are due to the system and that can be corrected. There is no divide in our hearts,” Velingkar told PTI, after addressing a meeting of his supporters in the Goa RSS here late in the evening.
He was reacting to the statements of senior local RSS leaders Ratnakar Lele, Datta Bhikaji Naik and others who called his decision to form a ‘Goa Prant’ of RSS, separate from the Konkan Prant, as “unfortunate”.
“We don’t want to increase the rift in the RSS, in few days you will see Sangh together. This is a temporary phase. Without affecting the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM) agitation, we will bridge the gap,” Velingkar said.
The former RSS Goa chief said he and his supporters were not angry with RSS. “Some people committed mistakes, it has to be corrected, that can be done,” he said.
He had communicated his stand on the entire issue to the core leadership in Nagpur, he said.
Responding to a question on RSS senior leadership refusing to recognise ‘Goa Prant’ formed by him, Velingkar said, “Whatever has been done, we accept it, provided BBSM is not affected. We will work with the same strength.”
He refused to comment further on crisis in Goa RSS stating “it is Sangh’s internal matter, and the Sangh knows how to tackle it.
“We only want that nothing should affect BBSM. Let there be 10 or 15 internal) committees, but we will see to it that public cause is not affected,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Velingkar’s supporters also toned down their rhetoric and protest, saying they had not rebelled against the Sangh but had only resigned from their posts.
“It is not a rebellion. We will continue saluting the saffron flag. We will work under Sarsanghchalak. But we will be Goa prant,” Raju Sukerkar, former North Goa head of RSS told PTI.
Sukerkar was among the leaders who resigned after the RSS Velingkar was sacked after BBSM announced its intention to form a political outfit.
Even as a large number of RSS workers including some office-bearers pledged support to Velingkar, many swayamsevaks appeared to be averse to the idea of parting ways with the Sangh.
“I am still with RSS with Nagpur as headquarters. You cannot have a separate RSS prant like this. I am not with the group which has done so,” Datta Bhikaji Naik, a senior RSS leader in Goa, told PTI.
Naik said he had backed BBSM in his individual capacity.
Ratnakar Lele, another senior functionary, said 80 per cent of the swayamsevaks would not go with the new Prant.
Velingkar crossed swords with the BJP government over the medium of instruction issue, with members of his outfit even showing black flags to party chief Amit Shah recently.
He had on Thursday said the Sangh unit in the coastal state will function independently of the parent body, at least till the Assembly polls.
However, RSS was quick to debunk him, saying none of its units can dissociate from the outfit and new office-bearers for Goa will be announced soon.
Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar declined to comment on this development ahead of the Assembly polls next year.
“I would not like to comment on it. It is their internal matter,” he said, adding, however “there cannot be a new Prant in Goa” and “in RSS, everything is decided by the central leadership.”
But BJP’s ally Shiv Sena defended Velingkar, saying he had committed no crime by demanding promotion of regional languages, which was an election promise of the BJP.