New Delhi: Over breakfast at Delhi's Claridges Hotel this morning, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat explained the organisation to diplomats from 50 countries, answering questions like - does the RSS control the BJP and the government.
No it doesn't, Mr Bhagwat told the gathering, which included several ambassadors, sources said. He said the RSS, which is the BJP's ideological mentor, doesn't run the BJP as the BJP doesn't run the Sangh. "As Swayamsevaks, we consult and exchange notes, but are independent in functioning," he said.
"There were many questions about the usual misconceptions about the RSS. Do they control the party and the government? The Sarsanghchalak explained to them how it is not a political but a social organisation,' said an invitee who attended the meeting.
The breakfast meet was organised by BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav's India Foundation, and comes amid attacks on the RSS and its affiliates after journalist Gauri Lankesh, a frequent critic of right-wing ideology, was shot dead in Bengaluru last week.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who was slammed by the BJP for blaming "RSS ideology," attacked the RSS this morning again when he said in a speech at a prestigious US university, UC Berkeley. “The politics of hate divides and polarises India making millions of people feel that they have no future in their own country,” he said.
"No discrimination and oneness of our nation and oneness of the world is our goal," Mr Bhagwat was quoted as telling the diplomats today. He invited them to attend the organisation's shakhas or camps and "experience the Sangh culture." He said the RSS has 1.7 lakh social projects that work to alleviate poverty and also invited them to see the work that the organisation is doing.
The RSS chief also said that his organisation does not support trolling and those who indulge in aggressive attacks on social media. "Trolling amounts to hitting below the belt. We don't support those who display such aggressive nature on the Internet and elsewhere," Mr Bhagwat said.
Union minister Jayant Sinha was also present at the hour-long meeting, in which the diplomats took turns to pose questions to Mr Bhagwat.