By Harihar Swarup
There is an important change at the key level of RSS. Dattatreya Hosabale, who is widely perceived to be more appreciative of the compulsion of the BJP central leadership and a pragmatist, was elected Sarkaryavah (general secretary) of the RSS on the concluding day of two-day triennial conclave of senior RSS functionary at Bangalore. He replaces Suresh ‘Bhaiyyaji’ Joshi, 73, who opted to retire on health ground after holding the post for four terms of three year each.
With his pragmatic outlook, 66-year-old Hosabale is popularly known as ‘Dattaji’ in RSS is expected to facilitate better co-ordination with the BJP leadership during his tenure, which overlaps with the crucial lead up to 2024 Lok Sabha election.
Hosabale hails from a small village in Shivagmogga district of Karnataka. In his maiden comment after taking over as the second senior most functionary of the RSS, Hosebole launched the contentious ‘love jehad’ laws promulgated by the BJP governments in the states.
A powerful orator, the erudite Hosabale, is second from Karnataka after H V Sheshadri from Bangaluru to hold his position, which is second only to chief Mohan Bhagat.
Hosabale is currently based in Lucknow and looks after RSS-BJP co- ordination. Now, he is being tasked with coordinating with 30 affiliated outfits, including BJP, Vishu Hindu Parishad and Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh.
Hosabale’s elevation was seen as part of the Sangh’s expansion plans south of Vindhyas, ahead of 2024 general election and the RSS’s grand celebration in its centenary year of 2025. “Hosabale will give impetus to RSS growth in states where BJP is aiming to gain foothold by working closely with Modi and Shah”, said a senior BJP leader.
Hosabale joined the RSS in 1968 and ABVP four years back. An MA in English, he is fluent in Kanada, Hindi, Tamil and Sanskrit.
Hosabale, 67 who joined the RSS in 1968 is the first in the post who has worked for almost three decades in any frontal organization—in his case the ABVP. Since ABVP contests elections, Hosabale’s experience attunes him the election imperatives in the BJP. Also, as sarkaryawah—he is second from Karnataka.
He remained under detention under MISA during Emergency for a period 12-14 months while with ABVP. He has been credited with helping set up Youth Development entre in Guwahati.
Considered very close to Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, Hosabale’s name was proposed by regional sangh leader Ashok Sohoney of Gujarat and endorsed by five other delegates. In fact, his name was doing the rounds for many weeks. In an indication of things to come, he was being deputed to several recent RSS programmes that Joshi was supposed to attend. His name had emerged even in 2015 and 2018 but Joshi was re-elected on both the occasions.
In the ABVP, he launched several initiatives. One of his key projects was Youth Development Centre at Guwahati, Assam and World Organization of students and youth.
He is the first-karyawah most of whose time as Pracharakwas spent in frontal organization that is ABVP. Before him Madandas Devi was sah-sarkaryawah for nine years.
The sarkaryawah’s position in RSS hierarchy is like much that of a Chief Executive Officer who handles the hands-on issues of running organisation and coordinating within the Sangh Parivar and its more than 30 affiliated outfits including the BJP, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh.
The reason why Hosabale was picked up from other candidate was not just that he was senior most but because he also ticked all the right boxes as far as RSS was concerned. He is said to have cordial relations with both the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister, Amit Shah, and helped in coordinating many issues between BJP and RSS. (IPA Service)