KOLKATA: The West Bengal unit of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) said on Monday that the ultra-nationalist group has witnessed a sharp rise in enrolment of individuals from across the country and more specifically from West Bengal into its ranks since the visit of former President Pranab Mukherjee to the RSS headquarters in Nagpur on June 7.
Speaking at the press conference here on Monday, RSS spokesperson Biplab Roy said: "Earlier, we used to receive some 350-380 online applications every day from across the country of people willing to join RSS. However, the number spiked to 1,779 the day Pranab Mukherjee delivered his speech at RSS headquarters in Nagpur and has remained at 1,200-1,300 every day since then. Also, since his visit, some 40 per cent of the total applicants willing to join RSS are from West Bengal."
However, he said that besides Pranab Mukherjee's charisma, growth of RSS organisational strength across the state is also the reason for the spike in enrolment numbers. "We had some 850 shakhas in south Bengal a year ago which has now grown to more than 1,200. We had 300 shakhas in north Bengal which has grown to over 400 this year. The biggest growth has been witnessed in Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, Paschim Medinipur and Jhargram districts," said Roy, also RSS south Bengal Pranta Prachar Pramukh.
On the other hand, RSS south Bengal Karyavaha (general secretary) Jishnu Basu said that now West Bengal is only behind Karnataka in the daily count of number of online applications received for joining RSS. "RSS Sah Sarkarvyah Manmohan Vaidya has written an open letter where he has elaborated how Dr Mohan Bhagwat and former President Pranab Mukherjee's thoughts on nationalism is strikingly similar. Both upheld the 'Vasudev Kutumbakam' (World is one family) culture of the 5,000-year-old history of our country. His visit was very important for us and we are very grateful to him. A lot of young people are joining RSS since then," he said.
Reacting to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's statement calling Sangh cadres as 'militants', Basu said: "Why did she not issue statements about militancy and terrorism when Khagragarh (Burdwan blasts) and Kaliachak (riots) happened? The present government has been the most anti-Hindu government West Bengal has ever seen."