The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sangh loads economy gun

New Delhi, Sept. 4: Prominent fronts of the RSS plan to launch separate agitations for four months from September against the NDA government’s economic policies and programmes.

Disinvestment, the government’s stand on the World Trade Organisation and “anti-labour” policies will be the main planks.

However, Sangh sources clarified that in view of the diktat not to openly confront the government and embarrass the BJP brass, the agitation would be “calibrated” to enable the spearheads to make their points without targeting individual politicians and bureaucrats.

“The RSS’ diktat that nothing should be done to destabilise the government still stands. The agitation will have to be executed within that framework,” a source said.

A section of the RSS leadership was upset with the way the Jammu unit went ahead and floated an organisation, independent of the BJP, for the Assembly elections on the state trifurcation issue. The BJP eventually made peace with the RSS-backed outfit, called the Jammu State Morcha.

But BJP sources emphasised that their strategists got the better of the RSS in the tussle. “This was evident when the deputy Prime Minister emerged from the RSS headquarters and declared to the press that the trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir was not in national interest,” said a party leader.

The three outfits in protest mode are the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, the combine of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and the Kisan Mazdoor Sangh and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.

The SJM will hold zilla-level demonstrations across the country against disinvestment from September 23 to October 6. But manch sources said disinvestment minister Arun Shourie will not be attacked. “It’s a policy of the government and not of an individual,” the sources said.

The SJM’s programme was firmed up at a meeting of its executive at Chitrakoot a couple of weeks ago. This meeting also decided to oppose the privatisation of the oil sector.

RSS sources said NDA convener and defence minister George Fernandes picked up the cue to protest the BPCL-HPCL sale after the SJM’s decision. S. Gurumurthy, a member of the manch’s steering committee, had met deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani to apprise him of the organisation’s views on the oil sale.

Gurumurthy’s inputs are likely to be taken into account when the Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment holds its crucial meeting on September 7.

The BMS and the KMS — the RSS’ labour and peasant wings — will focus on the WTO and the “anti-labour” thrust of the government’s economic policies. The ABVP will focus on unemployment and the need to reform the education system.

Of the three outfits, Sangh sources said, the ABVP’s show would be the most ambitious. Nearly 1 lakh activists are expected to congregate in the capital on November 26 for the protest.

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