The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is quietly stepping into the Samajwadi bastion in Uttar Pradesh and is encroaching upon the youth in areas where the Samajwadi Party wields considerable influence.
According to sources, Sangh training camps have attracted maximum youth in Shikohabad in the district of Ferozabad, and in Mainpuri and Etawah, all known to be areas of Samajwadi influence.
“We have had the maximum enrolment in the Shikohabad camp where 680 youths joined us. This clearly indicates that the youth are fed up with the Samajwadi brand of politics and are attracted to the policies of the BJP and the Modi government,” said a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh functionary.
The training camp in Moradabad, western UP, has also enrolled 560 youths, which shows that the Sangh Parivar is consolidating its base in the region.
Camps in Gorakhpur, which included participants from Azamgarh, the constituency of Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, have over 300 youths.
Sangh sources said over 70 per cent of the persons enrolled in these camps are below the age of 30 years, which proves that the youth are veering towards the Sangh and its parivar.
Top RSS leaders, including chief Mohan Bhagwat, will be addressing the youth in these training camps and will underline the need to rise above casteism and focus on Hindu unity.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Yadav community had deserted the Samajwadi Party to vote for the BJP, and the Dalits had opted for the BJP over the BSP. It was this that helped the BJP win 71 of the 80 seats in UP.
The Sangh, apparently, wants to consolidate the trend and it is targeting the youth, recognised as the mainstay of the SP. While the Sangh will first inculcate a feeling of Hindu pride and patriotism in the youth, the BJP will later hold similar camps to encourage the youth to join the party.
Meanwhile, with a young chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, in the state, the SP is now pinning on youth all its hopes for a comeback to power in 2017. The party is encouraging young blood in the party organisation. A young minister, Arvind Singh Gope, had been appointed general secretary of the state unit; his task is to interact with the youth and bring them into the party fold. He is also rejuvenating the youth wings of the party.
“In the past three years since Akhilesh Yadav took over as chief minister, the youth vote bank has emerged as our biggest hope because the youth identify with young leadership. If any other party chips away at this vote bank, it does not augur well for the party in the 2017 elections,” admitted a senior minister.