Diktat to state govt employees to join RSS sparks row

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Ambitious lens RSS workers take part in a national camp in Lucknow

Photo: REUTERS

In move that is bound to raise a major controversy , the  government employees of Chhattisgarh will now be able to attend “shakhas” of RSS with the ruling BJP lifting the ban on their participation in “non political activities” of the Sangh Parivar. The opposition Congress has dubbed the move as “harmful to democratic process” and demanded its immediate withdrawal . The order in this connection was issued by the department on February 23.

The Chhattisgarh Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 1965 prohibit a government servant from taking part in politics. “No government servant shall be member of, or be otherwise associated with, any political party or any organisation which takes part in politics nor shall he take part in, subscribe in aid of, or assist in any other manner, any political movement or activity,” states Rule 5(1).

However, the state government, in a notification dated February 23, with the subject line “regarding participation of government servants in activities of RSS”, said that “as far as Rule 5(1) of Chhattisgarh Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 1965 is concerned, its restriction does not apply to RSS”. Thus sparking off a major row and giving ammunition to the opposition to corner the Raman Singh government.

The Congress has come down hard on the state government over the issue. “The move will dilute the difference between government and a political party. RSS has been claiming to be a social-service apolitical outfit but everyone is well aware of the fact that they are running the BJP from backdoor. Hence, association of government employees with such organisation will harm the democratic process,” said T S Singhdeo, Leader of Opposition in Legislative Assembly.

 “It is an unconstitutional move with clear political colours. It will indoctrinate government servants. They will go to shakhas and will no longer remain impartial,” said former chief minister Ajit Jogi.

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