Citing Covid, RSS says no chief guest at Mohan Bhagwat’s Dussehra address

For the first time since it began the tradition of the annual Vijaydashami speech, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh will not have a chief guest at the event that is addressed by Sarsanghchalak or the Sangh chief.

This year the event will be held on October 25.

According to a senior functionary of the RSS, the decision to not invite a chief guest was taken in accordance with the Covid-19 protocol that calls for maintaining social distance and avoiding large gatherings.

“Permission has been sought from the administration for allowing a gathering while Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat will give his annual address. If the permission is granted, then the event will be held as per tradition in the open grounds adjoining the RSS headquarters in Nagpur; otherwise, between 50-100 people will be in attendance at the lecture that will be held indoors,” said the functionary.

The speech is broadcast live through social media platforms and the public broadcaster, Doordarshan.

Owing to the pandemic, the Sangh earlier this year cancelled the meeting of its highest decision making body, the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, and has also decided to hold its all India executive council meeting in 11 locations instead of at a single place to avoid large gatherings.

The annual Vijaydashmi address is one of the main events in the Sangh’s almanac and is an occasion where the RSS chief puts forth the Sangh stance on important issues. The speech is also parsed for the message that the Sangh has for the government.

This year’s speech comes days ahead of the Bihar assembly election and in the backdrop of the beginning of the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, which has been a long-pending demand of the Sangh.

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