The RSS and the BJP received a set back when a section of Muslims from the district unit of Muslim Rashtriya Manch(MRM), the minority outreach wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, quit the organization and joined Congress in presence of Nagpur Lok Sabha Congress nominee Nana Patole.
Led by Riyaz Khan, the district convener, more than 50 activists of the MRM at a press meet joined Congress in the presence of Patole, who is contesting against Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, himself had quit BJP in 2017 alleging apathy towards farmers’ issue in the regime. He said many more groups within the RSS would be moving out of the organization in the coming days. The MRM members alleged that RSS had merely used Muslims as a showpiece and were given a secondary treatment. Iqra Khan and Shabnam Khan, activists of the women’s wing, said RSS insisted that women should wear burka (veil) and come to its function.
The intention was to show that even the Muslims are with them. The activists said they were asked to offer flowers to Hindu which was not acceptable to many due to religious reasons. Riyaz Khan claimed that as he quit along with key members of the district unit, it would also take away a major chunk of the grass roots level cadre which would be easily close to 5,000. Apart from Muslims, other minorities like Halbas, Christians and North Indian were also part of the MRM. During the last five years of association with RSS, we realized that the organization was not serious about uplift of the Muslims.
Even the senior leaders do not enjoy a respectable position, leave aside the lower rung workers. RSS claims to bring Muslims into its fold but our repeated requests to hold Iftar parties on RSS Smruti Mandir premises were turned down,” said Riyaz. Nash Ali, a Congress activist who coordinated with MRM workers, said the party will be tapping other dissatisfied members of RSS in Madhya Pradesh and parts of Maharashtra also.
Farooq Shaikh, MRM’s state convenor said “I took all the efforts to convince them that BJP is committed to overall development, but to no avail. Patole said this shows that there is a major discontent within the RSS rank and file..MRM is patronized by RSS executive committee member Indresh Kumar as a part of initiative to include Muslims into the organization. The workers are involved in activities like cow protection and temple movement.