PANAJI: Breaking his silence after being sacked as the chief of RSS in Goa for attacking BJP over the issue of medium of instruction in schools, Subhash Velingkar today blamed Union ministers Manohar Parrikar and Nitin Gadkari for the action against him.
Velingkar, who claimed that hundreds of RSS workers and supporters have rallied behind him, also asserted that the Sangh unit in the coastal state will function independently of the parent body, at least till the Assembly polls next year.
"I was not shocked. I was anticipating it (the ouster). (Manohar) Parrikar and Nitin Gadkari are powerful at the Centre. They have (been) strongly lobbying there. They must have tried for it. They must have wrongly fed the RSS high command," Velingkar told PTI.
Velingkar, who was heading the RSS's state unit, was "relived of his responsibilities" by the Sangh headquarters, for stridently taking on the BJP over the medium of instruction issue through Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM) floated by him.
Action against Velingkar saw a large number of RSS workers in the state resigning in solidarity with him. "There is a possibility of Gadkari and Parrikar misreporting to the RSS headquarter on the issue. Parrikar is very much behind this. For them, I was the only focal point and they tried to break the (Medium of Instruction) movement. Later they will repent for doing it," said Velingkar.
He also said that RSS in Goa will detach itself from the main unit (parent body headquartered in Nagpur) till the State Legislative Assembly elections (due in March 2017), and after that they will request to get associated with the Sangh.
"Yesterday there was a meeting of RSS workers. A total of 600 people were present there. All the workers have resigned from their posts. Now we have no links with Konkan unit. Today we are going to make a special announcement in the evening. We will make sure that RSS Goa unit is intact and will play the same role which it used to in the past. Shakhas will continue, we have all the machinery in place," he said.
"We feel that higher-ups faced problem because of our agitation (led by BBSM). But that is not correct. Their (his detractors') stand is not in consonance with the resolution adopted at All India level (to protect mother tongue in their respective states," Velingkar said.
"We are not banking on them (the main RSS), we have detached Goa unit from Konkan prant (region). We will remain as RSS, we will be RSS Goa. We will continue as RSS. We will reinstate the people (officials on their posts)," he said.
Asked whether he would head the RSS Goa, Velingkar said they (workers) will decide on it. "We will continue respecting the Sarsanghchalak. We will continue this arrangement till (Assembly) elections and after that we will request them (main unit) to get us affiliated directly," he said.
Action against Velingkar's came after he 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. Velingkar said he has never sought to be relieved from the post.
"I had not demanded that I should be relieved because I know that I was giving justice to the post. We are in the society. Sangh does not keep us confined in the four walls of RSS. Society is bigger than RSS. The problems of society are bigger, as a citizen we should handle it also. While doing our responsibility as a citizen, if being in RSS becomes a liability then we are keeping it (RSS role) aside," he said.
On the charge that he has sought to meddle in politics, he said "RSS' policy of not indulging in politics seems to be inconsistent when it comes to the BJP."
RSS will never ask its workers or followers to vote for any particular party unlike the church or a 'fatwa' by the Islamic clergy. Voters cast their franchise based on the ideology of a party. BJP in Goa does not have that ideology," he added.
"When BJP tramples upon principles, what is the difference between Congress and BJP? Both the parties are same. Merely being BJP does not appeal to us. Be it Parrikar or anyone, if you don't conform with the requirement of ideology based on which you seek votes, we don't want them. We are not your (BJP) slaves," he said.
Referring to Parrikar, Velingkar said this is our first experience of a Sangh volunteer showing a different face after becoming a politician. "Politics is slippery, but despite that there are people who have remained clean in politics. There are some people who stand on a high pedestal," he said.
"We are wondering what happened to Parrikar that forced him to take this illogical stand (of giving grants to English medium schools). This was their own (BJP's) demand, how can they go against it now," Velingkar said.
He said that RSS always presumes that after being trained in Shakha, a Swayamsevak will continue nurturing the virtues that he has learnt. It depends upon every individual, some people maintain the virtues some don't."
Taking on Parrikar, he said, "We had a concept about Parrikar, we used to term him as a hope for Goa. We got disillusioned with it. If Parrikar wants to come back to shakha, no body can prohibit him from joining it. There is no membership fee or anything."
He said RSS holds daily shakhas, weekly unions and Sangh Mandali in Goa where 10,000 volunteers are active. "Besides, there are 1.5 lakh people who claim to be swayamsevaks and have been on the shakha some or other time of their life. They are sympathisers and supporters," Velingkar said.