Puducherry saw BJP ministers of the NR Congress-led National Democratic Alliance government wearing the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) uniform on October 2, Gandhi Jayanthi –  a sight that is uncommon in south India. Home Minister A Namassivayam and Minister for Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs AK Sai J Saravanan Kumar participated in the RSS march held on October 2. BJP Puducherry President V Saminathan was also present in the rally. Hundreds of RSS cadres participated in this rally. It was seen as a politically significant moment in the Union Territory as neighbouring Tamil Nadu had not permitted the RSS rally that was scheduled to be held the same day.

Meanwhile, members of the Secular Democratic Progressive Alliance (SDPA) formed a human chain to counter the RSS rally. The human chain saw former Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, MP V Vaithilingam, Pradesh Congress Committee president AV Subramaniam, Leader of the Opposition R Siva and members of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and the Left parties take part.

Speaking to TNM, former CM Narayanasamy said, “People came from other states to participate in the rally. But there is no reason to have an RSS rally in Puducherry today.” Pointing out that Nathuram Godse, who killed Gandhi was an RSS man, Narayanasamy said, “But the RSS is now conducting rallies on Gandhi’s birth anniversary.”

Narayanasamy also went on to hit out at Namassivayam, who was once his former cabinet colleague and a member of Congress before moving to the BJP in 2021. “He was in Congress once, now he is with BJP and wants to show loyalty to the RSS which they will never acknowledge. He has nothing to do with RSS and doesn’t know anything about the organisation.”

But is it unconstitutional for a cabinet minister, who has taken an oath in allegiance to the Constitution, to take part in the RSS rally?

“It may not be legally punishable but still they should have desisted from being a part of RSS procession,” said R Mani, a senior journalist, and political analyst. “It was nauseating to see the ministers in the RSS uniform. If they want to roam the streets in such attire, they can resign the minister posts and roam freely,” he added, calling it a dangerous stunt.

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