Reshma Patil, Indian Express Online: MUMBAI, March 23, Saturday, March 25, 2006
Study modules being prepared for RSS and BJP members nationwide
It’s the UPA’s showpiece legislation but it’s the Sangh Parivar that’s waking up fast to the potential power of the Right to Information Act as a tool to promote transparency and accountability and expose corruption. The Parivar is training Sangh-affiliated lawyers and preparing study modules to coach RSS and BJP footsoldiers nationwide to learn how to use the RTI.
“We will train members to exercise precautions in using this right to extract only yogya mahiti (suitable information). We don’t want to unnecessarily increase the government burden,’’ senior RSS leader Madan Das Devi told The Indian Express. ‘‘We want them to use RTI for public good, to expose corruption in tenders, public works, etc.’’
Can the Act help the BJP be an effective opposition? The party’s national training cell thinks so and has plans to train cadres through coaching sessions on the Act in Hindi and English.
“We want to do away with the apprehension that using RTI is difficult,’’ says Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, national coordinator of the BJP’s training cell. On April 5, the BJP’s state training coordinators will meet in Delhi for RTI orientation. On March 4 and 5, the first preparatory workshop—with guidance from none other than Maharashtra’s chief information commissioner Suresh Joshi—was held on the outskirts of Mumbai at the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (RMP) training school that is ideologically affiliated to the RSS and BJP.
“The invitation I received was from the RMP, it was not from a political outfit,’’ explains Joshi. But he adds that he’s aware the RMP is linked to the BJP.
In attendance for RTI lessons were Devi and members of the RSS national executive including H Dattatrey, senior RSS functionary, and joint in-charge of the Sangh’s baudhik vibhag.Gujarat’s RSS wing will hold an RTI workshop next month at Rajkot.