The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has diverted massive public resources to spruce up physical infrastructure ahead of a major Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) programme in the State this weekend. The three-day ‘Maa Narmada Saamaajik Kumbh’ is being organised by the Dharm Jagaran Vibhag (Religious Revival Department) of the RSS from February 10 to 12. The State government has allotted a whopping Rs.250 crore to the Mandla district administration for developing new roads, repairing existing ones, and ensuring uninterrupted drinking water, electricity and health services during the kumbh in this backward tribal-dominated region. Though he disputed this figure, Mandla Collector K.K. Khare acknowledged that the State administration was pitching in to ensure that the RSS event went off smoothly. The total funds allotted to various departments in the context of the kumbh were Rs.38 crore.
The RSS programme has raised concerns among minority communities and representatives of tribal people, who see it as a religious conversion event. And some in the administration are also worried. Reconversion events such as the ghar vapsi (return to the home-religion) were “certain to be held during the three-day kumbh” and might cause tensions, an official said.