JAIPUR: A major row has erupted in Rajasthan after the district administration in Ajmer began an exercise to identify government employees who attend RSS shakhas.
This has provoked a sharp reaction from the BJP with a senior MLA and a former minister in the Vasundhara Raje government calling it an effort 'to impose an undeclared emergency on the state employees.'
The information is being collected after an Independent MLA from Gangapur (Sawaimadhopur), Ramkesh Meena, raised a starred question in the state legislative assembly during its second session from June 27 to August 5. Ramkesh, a former Congress leader who is considered an Ashok Gehlot acolyte, has sought details about RSS shakhas and the list of the government employees who attend these in the state.
The Additional Collector of Ajmer, Kailash Chandra Sharma, asserted on Thursday: "We are collecting details as per the assembly question. The employees have been asked to submit a self-declaration on whether they attend RSS shakha or not. They have to submit details in a format by tomorrow."
This exercise has angered the BJP and targeting the Gehlot government, Ajmer North BJP MLA Vasudev Devnani alleged that it was an attempt to create an atmosphere of fear among government employees.
"The state government is trying to impose an undeclared emergency on government employees in the state. When there is no restriction on joining a social organisation, then why such self-declaration is being sought, " Devnani asked.
The MLA who was the Education Minister under Vasundhara Raje till last year, also alleged that the Congress government was working in a "biased manner".
"No such declaration was taken for having affiliation with any other social organisation in the past. We are not going to tolerate this," he said.
When contacted, Ramkesh Meena said that government employees were not supposed to get involved in such activities, therefore, he raised the question in the state assembly.
"I raised the question to get details and the number of such state employees who are associated with the RSS in all districts of the state. I have also asked whether the government intends to take action against such employees under the service rules," he said.
The current row is being seen in the context of the aggressive stance that Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot has taken in his attacks on RSS, BJP and PM Modi in recent months.
In a scathing criticism of RSS, Gehlot had recently claimed that RSS is working like an 'extra-Constitutional Authority' in the country and no one can become a Minister, Chief Minister nor Prime Minister, without their will.
While addressing a recent special assembly session, to discuss the constitution, Gehlot had said, "RSS dominance in all areas is increasing. During the Emergency, Sanjay Gandhi was accused of acting as an' Extra Constitutional Authority 'in the country. Whether he used to do it or not, everyone knows. But today the RSS is working as an 'Extra Constitutional Authority' in the country. No one can get any position without their will.''
In his aggressive mode, Gehlot had even dared the RSS to convert into a political party and come out in the open.
The current controversy over finding out which government employees attend RSS Shakhas is being linked with Gehlot's increasingly strident tone towards the RSS.