25 years of Babri: Looking to double its numbers, Bajrang Dal on a recruitment overdrive
With chatter around constructing a Ram Temple in Ayodhya in 2018 making the rounds, Bajrang Dal has launched a drive to boost its numbers before the much-awaited day arrives.
Toward that goal, the saffron outfit has launched a month-long recruitment drive to double its number. Ajju Chauhan, the vide-president of Bajrang Dal says that the drive started on 6 November and will end on 6 December - the day the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992.
The reason why 6 December was chosen to mark the date to end the recruitment drive, Chauhan says, is because it is "a day of celebration which we mark as Shaurya Diwas".
Chauhan estimates that the strength of the Bajrang Dal across the country at present is around 15-16 lakh. “We are now trying to double that number to 30 lakh,” Chauhan said, adding how there has been no recruitment over the last five-six years.
The idea, according to Chauhan, is to connect with the country’s youth in a much bigger way and inculcate in them a sense of Hindu cultural pride.
According to Anil Singh of Rashtriya Swayam Sewak (RSS), two lakh new Bajrang Dal members will be recruited from Awadh Prant (region) alone. Likewise, all other regions of the sangh - like Kashi Prant and Braj Prant - will also be recruiting new members with gusto.
Chauhan said that nothing special has been planned for 6 December, but added that the forces of Hindutva, which have been strengthened with the present regime at the Centre, are becoming increasingly more assertive because the Supreme Court is gearing up to begin daily hearings of the Ayodhya case from 5 December on.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat fired the latest salvo on the issue when he said on 24 November in Kerala that only a Ram Temple will be allowed to be built at the disputed site.
On Wednesday, a Muslim cleric and two of his relatives were beaten up by six persons on board a train in Baghpat for wearing head scarves. The trio was returning from the sufi shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin.
The incident is perhaps a taste of what is to come as a numerically strong Bajrang Dal could be at odds with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's Hindu Yuva Vahini.
But Chauhan says there should be no conflict between the two as both are “samajik sangathan” (social organisations). More so, Adityanath’s guru, Mahant Avaidyanath, had also been the chief of Bajrang Dal in 1992.
It is said that the Hindu Yuva Vahini, which played a determining role in helping in Adityanath’s appointment as CM, is now nurturing political ambitions minus the BJP.
The HYV’s Azamgarh zila prabhari Virender Singh reportedly told a Delhi newspaper, “It is because of the Vahini that the BJP had to concede chief ministership to Maharajji (Yogi Adityanath). We can close down the district if ordered to, and the BJP knows this. Now our effort will be to bring Yogi back as CM of the Vahini. In future, we should not even need the BJP.”
Chauhan does not see events unfolding in that manner.