The mention of the RSS in Congress manifesto has triggered a war of words in MP.
BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) 'shakhas' will continue to be held in state government offices and there will be no restrictions on employees on attending it.
''Nobody can ban the RSS,'' the MP CM said in Madhya Pradesh's Khargone on Monday evening.
"The RSS is an organisation of patriots and every nationalist and the government staffers can attend its 'shakhas'. The Congress is nursing an ego," the MP CM added.
''It was me who had lifted the ban on government employees and officers attending the RSS shakhas in 2006. I relaxed the norms that prevented government workers from taking part in the RSS meetings and this respite would continue in the future,” the Chief Minister added.
The remarks from MP CM came days after Congress released its manifesto which promised a ban on the use of government buildings for RSS meetings and revoking a previous order allowing government staffers to take part in the activities of the Sangh Parivar.
The Congress manifesto, released on Saturday, under the head titled 'administration reforms' read, "The holding of RSS shakhas in government premises would be banned and the order regarding relaxation given to public servants to attend them will be revoked".
The reference to the RSS in the Congress manifesto had triggered a bitter war of words between the ruling BJP and Congress in MP.
Clarifying on the issue, state Congress chief Kamal Nath said that the BJP was "distorting" the reference to the RSS in the party's manifesto just to divert public attention.
Nath's reactions came after BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, party vice-president Prabhat Jha and MP unit chief Rakesh Singh lashed out at the Congress for being "opposed to Lord Ram and the RSS".
"The BJP is intentionally fanning the RSS issue to divert people's attention from the public welfare issues mentioned in our 'Vachan Patra' (document of pledges). In our manifesto, we have not mentioned that the RSS would be banned, nor do we have any such intention," Nath told reporters.
He asserted that neither the party nor he himself has said that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will be banned.
The Congress's chief whip in the Lok Sabha, Jyotiraditya Scindia, too said that religion should not be mixed with politics.
In Madhya Pradesh in 1981, the Congress government had banned RSS activities in government premises.