Replaces Bhaiyyaji Joshi; Hosabale’s tenure will be of three years, can be extended as per decision of RSS members.

 

New Delhi: The joint-general secretary of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the 65-year-old Dattatreya Hosabale, was appointed as the new general secretary of the RSS. This is the number 2 position in the organization. His tenure will be of three years, which can be extended as per the decision of RSS members.

Hosabale replaced the 74-year-old Bhaiyyaji Joshi, who, according to sources, had himself told RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat that he wanted to step down from the post.

Joshi had completed his fourth three-year term this year after being elected on the post in March 2009. He was appointed at the post during the same time Mohan Bhagwat had replaced the then RSS chief K.C. Sudarshan.

RSS sources said that before Joshi, H.V. Sheshadri was the only other official who worked as General Secretary or  Sar-karyawah for four consecutive terms (from 1987 to 2000).

Hosabale, who joined the RSS at the age of 13, spent almost 30 years in the ABVP during his formative years.

A graduate in English literature, he spent 14 months in prison under MISA during the Emergency. He is known for his affection of thriller novels, especially those written by British novelist Jeffrey Archer. Hosabale hails from Sorab in Shimoga district of the coastal Malnad region of South Karnataka.

Hosabale was expected to become the second-in-command of the RSS at the all-India Pratinidhi Sabha (AAIPS) held in Nagpur in March 2015 but the same could not happen.

The alleviation of Hosabale, who shares a warm personal rapport with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will also come as a good news for other party leaders, including Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, with whom he had worked for a long period during the ABVP days and played a crucial role in him becoming the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and Union minister Nitin Gadkari whom Hosabale had supported during his ascendancy to the post of BJP president in the past.

A senior BJP leader said that the alleviation of Hosabale should also be looked through the prism of BJP’s focus on expanding its influence in South India where it has a limited presence so far.

Hosabale was among the first senior RSS leaders who had supported the decriminalization of Article 377. In October 2013, when he was the Joint General Secretary, had called for a three child norm among Hindu families to prevent “demographic imbalance”.

He had also come out in support of Narendra Modi’s comment, who was the Chief Minister of Gujarat them,  of “toilets first, temples later”.

Hosabale had stated that both were equally important for society.

In October 2011, Hosabale had said that the RSS was embarrassed over developments involving former Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who had to go to jail in cases relating to alleged land scams.

The “election’ of the said position took place at the two-day meeting of RSS’s highest decision-making body, the 1500-member Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, in Bengaluru which traditionally happens at the organization’s headquarters in Nagpur, but was shifted due to Covid-19.

The election takes place every three years. Sources said that close to 500 members attended the elections physically, while the rest voted from their respective headquarters virtually.