The All India Sunni Ulema Council (AISUC) sought an appointment with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, a day before the outfit's National Executive Committee meet in Kanpur.
The Sangh's first National Executive meeting in five years is expected to focus heavily on the upcoming 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.
The AISUC delegation reached the venue of the meeting in Kanpur on 10 July and gave the RSS functionaries a letter meant for Bhagwat. In the letter, the AISUC posed a set of questions to the Sangh leaders. These are:
1) What kind of patriotism does the RSS expect from Muslims?
2) What is the RSS' viewpoint on religious conversions?
3) What does RSS know and think about Islam?
4) Does RSS wants India to be a Hindu nation?
5) What does Sangh want from Islam?
6) Does RSS believe India to be a Hindu nation?
RSS' National Executive meeting (11-15 July)
RSS leaders said that the five-day meeting is aimed at reviewing the RSS' agenda and its activities. However, political observers are of the opinion that the meeting is an attempt to fine-tune the Sangh's strategy for the state polls.
Sources claim that leaders like Amit Shah, Keshav Prasad Maurya, Manvendra Singh, Rajnath Singh and Uma Bharti have also been invited to join over 150 senior RSS functionaries, who have gathered in Kanpur.
Is a return of Suresh Soni on the cards?
Sources suggest that the Executive Committee will approve the return of senior RSS leader Suresh Soni. The leader played an important role in Modi's elevation as the BJP's PM candidate in the run-up to the general elections. He went on a two-year-long sabbatical after the NDA's victory in the elections.
It is being speculated that Soni may now be assigned an important responsibility in the party before the state elections. Political observers feel that Soni's return to the party may strengthen Jaitley's position in the party, while also spelling trouble for RSS appointee Krishna Gopal and National General Secretary Ramlal.
Party insiders say that Soni, who is known for his astute political skills, was the man who forced the government to backtrack on its controversial land ordinance.
Discussing the poll strategy
Winning Uttar Pradesh, the nation's most politically-important state, is significant for both the BJP and the RSS - which wants to further its Hindutva ideology.
Many observers believe that the RSS has been working towards this end even before the general elections and that fielding Modi from Varanasi was a part of the same strategy.
Bhagwat is likely to share his vision for the party during the meeting - where the leaders are expected to discuss the contentious issue of the party's CM candidate for the UP polls as well as the candidates for important seats.
RSS' expansion plans
The meeting is also expected to focus on the RSS' expansion plans for UP. The RSS leadership plans to post at least one swayamsevak in every village. New prant pracharaks could be appointed to the four major regions. These pracharaks will oversee the expansion work at the local levels.
The RSS central command is of the view that the BJP cannot be strengthened in the state until the Sangh has a presence in every village. The party has not been able to secure victory for the last two-and-a-half decades owing to a lack of mass support at the village level.