Day to go, RSS yet to get invite for Modi swearing-in

While Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha has confirmed her presence at the Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony and Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy also likely to attend the function on Wednesday, RSS functionaries are yet to receive an invite from the BJP.

With just a day left before the former RSS pracharak takes oath for the fourth consecutive time as the Gujarat chief minister, it is still not known as to who all from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will be attending the ceremony at the Sardar Patel Stadium.

Modi had paid a visit to the RSS headquarters in Ahmedabad on Friday, a day after the Assembly election results were declared. He spent 45 minutes there reportedly talking to Sangh functionaries.

However, the mood in the RSS camp seems to be far from upbeat as far as its participation in the ceremony is concerned.

Gujarat RSS chief Dr Jatin Bhadeshiya said he was not sure of his presence at the function. "I can remain present only if my professional commitments allow me to," said the Morbi-based surgeon who was not present at the Ahmedabad RSS office when Modi visited there last week.

While invitation to Swamy, Jayalalitha, Badal and some other NDA leaders were dispatched on December 21, local RSS leaders are yet to get an invite.

A top RSS functionary said, "Invites will arrive soon. We do not consider it a big issue. But yes, there is a difference of opinion among individuals. It is not necessary that individuals should take part in all the functions and meetings."

He further said that as a "leading organisation of Sangh Parivar", the RSS has been "playing its role since the beginning". "All those who will be in a position to attend (the swearing-in ceremony) will surely be present there," he added.

Pravin Maniyar, former RSS office-bearer who had led the ceremony preparation in 2001 and campaigned for Keshubhai Patel's Gujrat Parivartan Party in the recently-concluded elections, had appealed to the voters to oust the Modi government. When contacted, the 74-year-old leader said, "I am done with politics. Now, I want to focus on areas like strengthening RSS sakhas in the Saurashtra region, my engineering college and cow protection work."

He, like another RSS heavyweight Bhaskarrao Damle, had supported Keshubhai in his fight against Modi. Damle has reportedly been not keeping well of late.

Little wonder that the RSS has not been involved in the preparations, including finalising the list of invitees, for the grand ceremony for which top BJP leaders like L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley are likely to come. "It's an affair of the BJP," said an RSS leader.

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