The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Saturday saw a change of guard with Dattatreya Hosabale being elected as its ‘Sarkaryavah’, replacing Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi, who held the position for 12 years. The Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha of RSS elected Dattatreya as its general secretary. Hosabale had been one of the RSS joint general secretaries since 2009.
Speculation were rife that Joshi may step down as the ‘Sarkaryavaha’ of RSS on the second day of the Sangh’s triennial that began in Bengaluru on Friday, its first such meet outside Nagpur due to the wake of surging COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra.
Considered very close to PM Narendra Modi, Hosabale’s name was proposed by regional sanghchalak Ashok Sohoney of Gujarat and endorsed by five other delegates. His name had emerged even in 2015 and 2018 but Bhaiyyaji Joshi was re-elected both occasions.
“Bhaiyyaji Joshi requested that he should be relieved from his responsibility as he felt that with age he also would like to step down. Dattatreya Hosabale has been elected unanimously,” said RSS national media head, Arun Kumar. Dattatreya will be RSS general secretary for three years.
Dattatreya belongs to Hosabale village in Karnataka's Shivamogga district and joined RSS in 1968 and then the student organization Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in 1972. Obtained his Masters in English Literature from Bengaluru University, Hosabale is fluent in Kannada, Hindi, English, Tamil and Sanskrit and enjoyed proximity with almost all writers and journalists of Karnataka
He was imprisoned for more than a year under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) during emergency imposed by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.