Now, RSS takes the social media route to reach out

RSSRSS workers take part in an event in Gurgaon on Sunday. PTI
Though not in as organised a manner as the Congress or the BJP, the RSS has also decided to use the social media to reach a larger audience.

Its propaganda chief Manmohan Vaidya has begun holding meetings of volunteers active on social media platforms to spread the nationalist thought. He held such meetings in Patna, Guwahati, Kolkata and Faridabad before September and will soon meet volunteers in Bhopal, Ahmedabad and Bhubaneswar. "It is a new platform to educate people about our thoughts and works. A large number of our volunteers are active on social media platforms. We want to organise them. I have been holding meetings with volunteers to make them work in an organised way. We ask them to avoid emotional outbursts and instead, make facts- and information-based interventions in debates on social media platforms," Vaidya said.

He has advised the volunteers to be in touch with each other and discuss ideas and better ways of communicating nationalist ideas.

However, the RSS does not want to be seen as being directly associated with or controlling the swayamsevaks.

"We have only one official website (rss.org). We are not trying to control swayamsevaks but trying to educate them to be organised. We request swayamsevaks active on social media platforms to avoid naming pages after the RSS but use nationalist symbols," Vaidya said. The RSS experience in inducting volunteers through the internet has prompted the move.

Vaidya claimed an active follow-up of the 'join RSS' link on rss.org generated interest among people to be a part of the organisation. He said while 686 people used the link every month to send 'join' requests during January-June 2012, this number almost doubled to 1,333 per month during July-December. During January-June 2013, he said, there were average 2,081 requests per month to join the RSS.

"Once we receive a request, we ask shakhas (units) to follow up. While we got 12,115 requests during 2012, this year till August 31 we had received 19,312 requests," he said.

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